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HomeTopicsLatin AmericaPanamanian LGBTQ Groups Urge Presidential Candidates to Support Same-Sex Marriage 

Panamanian LGBTQ Groups Urge Presidential Candidates to Support Same-Sex Marriage 

Several LGBTQ groups in Panama asked presidential candidates on Thursday to commit to recognizing same-sex marriage, which was rejected a year ago by the Panamanian justice system.

About fifteen groups are seeking for the candidates to sign a pact on March 27 in which they also commit to promoting laws against discrimination towards members of the LGBTQ community.

These groups intend for the future Panamanian government to comply with the advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which in January 2018 determined that homosexual couples have the same rights as heterosexual ones.

The next president “could simply say that Panama is going to assume the advisory opinion (of the Inter-American Court) and allow equal marriage,” Samirah Almengor of the International Coalition of Women and Families, one of the pact’s organizers, told AFP.

“The status of spouse is the key to solving many problems” for couples, Jazmina Rovi of the Association of Parents, Relatives and Friends of Diversity of Panama told AFP.

The eight presidential candidates in the May 5 elections were invited to the presentation of the pact, according to Almengor, but none attended, unlike what they have done to support other causes.

“This is a clear show of disinterest and the little relevance they give us as a population, not knowing that our vote counts,” Almengor lamented.

“There is a mistaken conception that openly declaring yourself a defender of the human rights of the LGBT community will cost you votes,” Rovi added.

In March 2023, the Panamanian Supreme Court rejected recognizing equal marriage, considering that it “does not have the category of a human right” in the Constitution.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, based in Washington, has asked Panama on several occasions to recognize equal marriage.In Central America, only in Costa Rica can same-sex people marry, since 2020.

In Panama, with a strong influence from the Catholic and evangelical churches that oppose equal marriage, the internal codes of several public institutions consider homosexuality a “serious offense,” which can lead to dismissal. Homosexuals and lesbians are also not allowed to donate blood in Panama.

Among the eight candidates are former President Martín Torrijos (2004-2009), the ruling party’s José Gabriel Carrizo and the opposition’s Rómulo Roux and Ricardo Lombana.

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