Panama closes doors to equal marriage with reform

The National Assembly of Panama, a unicameral legislature with an official majority, took the first step to prevent same-sex marriage through constitutional reform. The deputies approved a project to reform the Constitution where in one of its articles it says that "the State recognizes only the marriage between a man and a woman".

Panama's legislation does not recognize same-sex marriage, although the Supreme Court of Justice must resolve two appeals filed by two Panamanians so that their marriages with homosexual couples are legally recognized.

"I met this weekend with the largest group of pastors (evangelicals) that exist (in Panama) and are very pleased with us" for having resolved the prohibition of "equal marriage," said the official deputy, Jairo Salazar.

His benchmate, Rupilio Ábrego, also defended raising traditional marriage to constitutional status "because that is part of what the Panamanian people have requested." "This Assembly has definitely listened to that Panamanian people (so) that the marriage between a man and a woman is maintained," Ábrego said.

In July, the Panamanian government of Laurentino Cortizo (Democratic Revolutionary Party, Social Democrat) presented to the Assembly a project to reform the Constitution, which dates back to 1972. In the package, prepared by a multi-sector council, no reference was made to marriage, but the deputies have modified the original text. The project approved on Monday will be discussed again in a new legislative period in 2020 and then move on to a referendum. Read more via AFP