LGBT RIGHTS IN PANAMA, PART II

(Part One published on January 26th, 2017)

Blog by Omar Fuentes

It was back in 2014 when Gay Marriage was first presented as a bill by the government ministry to pass into law that would have allowed marriage between same sex couples.  Within a few days there was so much protest by church groups against gay marriage that the proposal was withdrawn before it made it to the legislators to be voted in.

 

Then in2016 there was a second discussion about the topic when a couple that was married in another country wanted their marriage to be recognized in Panama as well. Registro Civil (courthouse) denied their petition stating that Panamanian laws don’t accept this type of marriage. The couple didn’t agree with this decision and decided to file an official complaint to the Supreme Court and argued against an article from the Family code in the actual constitution stating that it has discrepancies. No action has yet been taken on their petition.

 

In April 2017, another complaint to the Supreme Court was submitted to legalize Gay marriage, this time by a law firm against the article 26 that says “marriage is only allowed between a woman and a man”. According to them, the article 57 in the Panamanian Constitution states that “Marriage is the legal foundation of the family, it rests in the equality and rights of the couple and can only be dissolved by law”, so it differs within the two codes.  This is the second formal Complaint about Gay Marriage to the Supreme Court that looks forward to legalizing same sex marriage in Panama.

Panama’s New Men and Women Association, a non-governmental organization created in 1996, accuses the Panamanian Catholic Church, in a compromise with the Government, of encouraging legislation to prevent gay marriages.

The argument set forth by the proponents of the bill states that Panama should adopt the most modern standards of inclusivity and diversity and gives examples of other countries in the Americas and the Latin world who have already passed legislations legalizing gay marriage. Some of the examples of the countries quoted that recognize this freedom are:  Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, Colombia and the United States.

These countries all allow gay marriage and full legal rights to their LGBT citizens. The last two countries are the two most recent ones to pass the legislation.

 

The Panamanian vice president and chancellor, Isabel De Saint Malo, stated that she is in favor of marriage between same-sex couples. Isabel shared her public support on her Twitter account of the original post by a Twitter user who wrote in favor of gay marriage. “I share my opinion. We must all have the option of joining our life to a loved one. Sexual orientation is not chosen, it is born with it. ISMA”

It is important for gay marriage to promote a law for non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, because today the Panamanian State does not recognize this as subject of law. Many people think that the only problem the LGBT community has is that there is no “gay marriage” in Panama and most issues stem from that.

Regardless of how this judicial battle is resolved, the debate over homosexual marriage has once again taken the pulse of our small country, which boasts of being tolerant and cosmopolitan but increasingly influenced by religion and conservatism. We will keep you posted about any future developments as they unfold.

At Casa de Montaña we keep you updated with the latest information about LBGT community and other communities. Whenever you visit Boquete stay with us and we will make sure that you feel comfortable and you can be yourself and share your ideas with us about the progress in the LGBT Community of our wonderful nation. You can book your stay directly from our Booking Page .

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