El Salvador bans gay marriage and adoption rights

by on May 3, 2009  •  In Marriage, Religion

From Maggie van Vogt at Narcosphere, the following post describes the abrupt push by the Catholic Church and rightist parties in El Salvador to ban gay marriage, seemingly to embarrass the left party FMLN which holds the presidency, even though marriage rights were not a priority for the LGBT movement there. Sounds eeriy like the Republican playbook, when DoMA was muscled through Congress in the summer of 1996, forcing Clinton to sign or veto just before his re-election campaign.  HT: Lisa Duggan

After weeks of public debate and protest, [last week] El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved an amendment to the constitution to ban marriage between same-sex couples and same-sex couples’ ability to adopt a child.  This amendment was proposed in the final hours of the current Legislative Assembly session, which ends April 30th.

“Marriage is only for men and women, born that way.  It remains consecrated in our country that this is not possible for same-sex couples,” (El Diario de Hoy, 30 April 2009) announced Rodolfo Parker, the major proponent of the amendment.

In the period of time leading up to this ratification, the amendment lacked 4 votes to pass.  Those votes needed to come from deputies of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).  On Monday, April 27, the party announced that it would not support the amendment because of concerns that it was discriminatory.   The wording of the amendment was negotiated to include the phrase,  “The State shall foment marriage, but the lack of it will not effect the enjoyment of the rights established by law,” after which it attained the number of votes needed to pass.

Politicians have experienced pressure from The Church to ratify the amendment.  Various Catholic and Evangelical leaders publicly targeted the FMLN for not supporting the amendment, particularly San Salvador’s Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas.  On April 20th Alas presented the Assembly with 300,000 signatures in support of the reform and has made various public statements urging the FMLN to cast the necessary votes for it to pass….

LGBT activists, who have focused their work on providing education, services, and human rights accompaniment to LGBT Salvadoran, immediately mobilized in response.  

The Alliance for LGBT Diversity, a network of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals and organization has organized a variety of protests, press conferences, vigils, and written a counter amendment proposing the expansion of Article 3 of the nation’s constitution to include sexuality, gender identity, and disability in the non-discrimination clause….


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