Panamanians Protest Proposed Ban on Marriage Equality

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11/06/2019

“They are gay and they cannot enter,” said legislator Jairo “Bolota” Salazar on October 29 about a group of protesters outside the Panamanian National Assembly, as he barred them from entering the building. This affront encapsulates the grievances of protesters who have taken to the streets of Panama City to protest against constitutional reforms preliminarily approved by the legislature last week. One of these would amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Panama already excludes same-sex couples from marriage under Article 26 of its Family Code. But writing discrimination into the constitution would effectively bar lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from being equal members of Panamanian society. The past week’s protests, to which police have reportedly responded with arbitrary detentions and excessive force, address issues beyond marriage equality.

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