Latin American country rejects same-sex marriage in landmark court case; not a ‘human right’
Panama’s Supreme Court has ruled against same-sex marriage, saying it is not a human right, closing the door to establishing the practice through judicial decision.
“There is a reality, and it is that, so far, the right to equal marriage is no more than an aspiration, although a justification for the groups involved, and it does not fall under the category of a human right or a fundamental one. rights,” the court said in a February 16 judgment but released on March 1.
The case resulted from same-sex couples who were married in other countries having their unions recognized in Panama.
But the court ruled that “regardless of the changes in reality,” same-sex marriage “lacks traditional and constitutional recognition,” AFP reported.
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According to Newsroom Panama, the Supreme Court indicated with its ruling that the country’s family code “gives priority to families over unions capable of providing continuity to the human species, and therefore, to society.”
A commission established in 2022 looked into the issue, hearing from members of the public who spoke on why they were calling for same-sex marriage, civil rights activists and a delegation from the national government of Panama.
Yamileth Garces, a Panamanian woman seeking recognition of her marriage, said the country “isolates us … diminishes our value before society … condemns us to live in darkness.”
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This ruling also complicates inheritance law issues and creates difficulties with potential medical decisions, among other legal questions.
The new order would also require some reconciliation with a 2018 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which said same-sex couples had the same rights as heterosexual couples, which applied to all members, including Panama.
Ivan Chanis Barhona, a lawyer and human rights activist who currently serves as president of Fundación Igules, told Human Rights Watch that same-sex couples are “invisible” in the country.
“Recently, the National Assembly of Panama passed a new law on adoption, which includes a ban on adoption by same-sex couples.” “Although the President partially vetoed the legislation, he did not object to these discriminatory provisions.”
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In Central America, only Costa Rica freely recognizes same-sex marriage, and some believe the strong presence of the Catholic Church in the region influenced the decisions.
But Pope Francis recently ruled that same-sex marriage is not a crime but remains a sin in the eyes of the Church.
“Being gay is not a crime,” Francis told The Associated Press. “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Okay, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”
The Pope also addressed how some Catholic bishops support laws criminalizing homosexuality in some parts of the world. He, too, referred to the issue as “sin” but said bishops and others must go through a process of changing their thinking to recognize the dignity of all people.
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“These bishops must undergo a process of conversion,” he said, adding that bishops must follow the same “tenderness, as God has for each of us.”
Fox News Digital’s Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.