A gay Panamanian lawyer who once lived in D.C. is leading efforts to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in his country.
Iván Chanis Barahona is working on behalf of a gay couple legally married in the U.K. who is seeking formal recognition of their marriage in Panama. He is also among the lawyers who is litigating a second lawsuit challenging the provision of Panamanian law that bans same-sex couples from marrying.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in both lawsuits over the summer. They have been combined into one case.
Chanis told the Washington Blade on Sept. 26 during an interview at a Panama City coffee shop the judge who heard the lawsuits will share his ruling with the eight other judges who sit on the court. He said he remains optimistic, even though it remains unclear when the Supreme Court will release its decision.
“We did a really good job,” Chanis told the Blade. “We have a really solid case.”
Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, and Hunter T. Carter of the New York City Bar Association, who works with advocates throughout Latin America who are seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples in their respective countries, are among those who filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs. Chanis also noted the Supreme Court received amicus briefs from Herman Duarte of Fundación Igualitos in Costa Rica and Argentina.