Both LGBT+ campaigners and religious fundamentalists are protesting as courts debate the future of same-sex marriage in Panama.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which theoretically has power over Panama, has already ruled the country must legalize same-sex marriage. But despite that, the issue has stalled. Now the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is hearing evidence on marriage equality in Panama. Moreover, the country’s own Supreme Court of Justice is also moving forward. It’s had a backlog of marriage equality cases dating back as far as 2016. However it has now, finally, made some progress. The court has assigned a new judge to draft its response to the cases. If five out of the nine Supreme Court justices agree with the draft, they will then go on to consider the cases in detail. The outcomes from both the commission and the court are far from certain. However, it is clear the issue is again stirring strong passions in Panama. LGBT+ campaigners protested on the steps of the Supreme Court on Friday (2 October), demanding marriage equality. Moreover, they also called for wider LGBT+ human rights, including a lifting of Panama’s ban on gay and bi men donating blood. Meanwhile religious organizations will march to the court tomorrow (7 October) to demand the justices reject same-sex marriage.