Church & Political Right Fail to Ban Marriage Equality in El Salvador

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Oct 5, 2009

In El Salvador, anti-gay legislation that would have denied marriage to same-sex couples and outlawed adoption by gay and lesbian couples went down in defeat.

An Oct. 3 article posted at Inside Costa Rica said that two anti-family amendments to the national constitution failed to find support from lawmakers.

The amendments had originally been introduced three years ago, and had been approved once by the requisite two-thirds of lawmakers in a vote last April. But because the law requires that two consecutive legislative sessions approve amendments to the constitution, the matter was not settled after the first vote.

Both amendments were defeated 46-38 at the time of the second legislative session's vote.

The Roman Catholic Church, which opposes GLBT family equality worldwide, had lobbied for the passage of the amendments.

The article quoted the bishop of the nation's capital, San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar, as encouraging poltiical gridlock on crucial issues as a means of forcing lawmakers to approave the amendments.

Said Bishop Escobar, "If one [political] party is refusing to vote and the others are convinced [the anti-gay legislation] is for the common good, the good of the nation, they could oblige them by denying the government party their votes, for example loans or the national budget."

At a recent demonstration in San Salvadore by anti-marriage equality advocates, placards advocating the "defense" of marriage through its denial to gay and lesbian families were displayed, the article said.

The article also said that GLBT equality organizations had been pressing for civil unions, but not for marriage equality.

Though no current laws in El Salvadore explicitly prohibit sexual intimacy between consenting adults of the same gender, a Wikipedia article reports, and the age of consent--18--is the same for all sexual relations, statutes are in place regarding "moral behavior and good habits" that could in theory be applied against gays.

The Wikipedia article also notes that gays and lesbians have reportedly been persecuted since the end of the country's long and bloody civil war, which began in 1979 and continued until 1991.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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