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Panama, May 23 . .- The iron conservatism and a weak justice conspire against gender parity in Panama, which remains as an “island of inequality” in the face of the progress of neighbors like Costa Rica, which from next week will allow same-sex marriage, activists told EFE.

On May 26, the legal articles that prevent equal marriage will be repealed in Costa Rica as a result of a January 2018 ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), in which the countries of the Americas are urged to guarantee the human rights of the sexually diverse population, including the union of people of the same sex.

The Costa Rican Congress never processed a law on equal marriage, as the Constitutional Chamber asked it to do within a maximum period of 18 months before the automatic annulment of the legislation that prevents it, and even a group of congressmen tried this week, without success, postpone the entry into force of same-sex unions.

There is an “iron conservatism” in Costa Rica, as in Panama, but the difference is that in the neighboring country, joint work by organized groups of civil society and “sensitive” authorities and politicians has been achieved, and had an “effective” Justice system, Iván Chanís, president of the Fundación Iguales Panamá, told EFE.

“In Panama there is no sex education, we have a problem of recognition of gender equality issues beyond the LGBTI issue itself. An iron conservatism,” said Chanís, an expert in international law.

If “there were an effective and fair Panamanian justice system, we would have a place to advance” in the fight for the rights of the LGBTI community (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex), “which is what has happened to the Cortes (Supremas de Justicia) in Costa Rica and also in Colombia, “the other neighbor of Panama where same-sex unions are legal from 2016.

“Panama remains on an island of inequality between two great countries that have advanced in the region as well as many others,” lamented the president of the Fundación Iguales Panamá, a non-profit organization that defines itself as a promoter of observance and respect. to human rights as a way to strengthen tolerance, equality and respect for diversity in society.

Costa Rica, on the other hand, “becomes a beacon of light and hope for Central America on the subject of human rights, especially for LGBTI people in the region,” and stands as a “society suited to today’s times. Chanís said.

Panama must follow in the footsteps of the Costa Rican State and comply with the advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court, because if it does not “it would be in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights,” added the activist and lawyer.


Christian, evangelical and Catholic groups in Panama have marched in defense of the traditional family and in rejection of equal marriage, gender identity and the IACHR pronouncement, and even of other rights that concern women as sexual education in schools. to tame the serious problem of teenage pregnancy.

In the Supreme Court of Justice and in the Panamanian Electoral Court, three cases of equal marriages celebrated abroad have been pending for several years, two of which seek to invalidate the Family Code and legalize homosexual marriages.

Ricardo Beteta, of the Association of New Men and Women of Panama, told EFE that the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Panama “must rule on these cases”, without any religious component or based on personal beliefs.

Beteta admits that this is a “highly political” issue that “is not easy”, and noted that next Tuesday they will commemorate the achievement of Costa Rica to call on the Panamanian State to also “assert equality before the Law as the Constitution says so. “