Friday, May 05, 2006

CORRECTION: El Salvador's gay marriage ban still needs 2nd vote for passage

CORRECTION to "El Salvador bans recognition of marriages for same-sex couples" (Blabbeando, May 4, 2006)

a comment posted on April 29, 2006 in Tim's El Salvador Blog which said:
The same-sex marriage amendment is one of a number of constitutional amendments proposed in the waning hours of the current session of the Salvadorian National Assembly which ends at midnight on April 30. Many of the current deputies will no longer have jobs after that point as deputies elected on the March 12 elections take their seats on May 1. To become effective, a constitutional amendment must be passed in two successive sessions of the National Assembly. Jjmar at Hunnapuh points out that a constitutional amendment could be passed by a vote taken on April 30th and then another on May 1 with the new legislature.
...with an April 22, 2006 Spanish language article that ran in La Prensa Grafica which said that the old assembly was ready for a vote against the right for gay couples to marry or adopt and, additionally, a May 2, 2006 Spanish language EFE article on the new assembly session which also made reference to passage of the amendment, I wrongly concluded that said amendment had quickly passed in two successive National Assembly sessions and had become law.

Now it is clear that, while the constitutional measure was passed by the previous National Assembly session that ended on April 30th, the new session that begun on May 1st has yet to debate or vote on the measure .

The fact that the first vote was taken at 4 in the morning of April 30th, on the last day that the old legislature was in session, also meant that reporters covering the opening of the new session on May 1st made passing reference to votes taken a day earlier, which aded to the confusion.

In any case, we apologize to readers.

Below is a translated excerpt from a May 1st article in El Faro describing what took place on the early morning of April 30th, 2006:

Matrimony between homosexuals is banned
This [constitutional] reform was brought to the floor by Deputy Rodolfo Parker of the Democratic Christian Party [pictured above]. At 4 in the morning, after three hours and 57 minutes of negotiations in the Policy Commission, Parker thanked the ARENA and PCN parties for endorsing the measure which "soes not seek to discriminate against anyone, but marriages are between a man and a woman."

Then, the Deputy told a story about a "small town" in which its occupants, being extremely religious, went to their priest to ask what they could eat, since it was Holy Friday and they could not eat pork in observance of the religious holiday. "And they only had pigs," said the Deputy.

According to [Parker], the priest answered that on that day he would "declare the pig seafood." Parker immediately raised his voice and said "But, gentlemen! A pig is not seafood and seafood is not a pig! Let's not deceive ourselves!"

This constitutional reform, which - following these arguments - passed with 51 votes (from the ARENA, PCN, PDC and PPSC parties), raises marriage between persons of "different genders" and adoption of minors as only allowed to couples constituted by persons of different gender to a constitutional level.

Hector Silva of the CD party, after explaining that the party had left the vote to the discretion of the moral and religious beliefs of each deputy [in their ranks], indicated that this reform discriminated against a good percentage of the Salvadorian population that have other sexual options, "that it is not an illness," and that it helped to "close our eyes to something that, in my judgment, is a very important reality." Several ARENA deputies laughed as Silva presented his arguments.

Walter Duran, of the FMLN, indicated that in his party, for the next legislative session, will leave it up to personal discretion whether to ratify the reform or not. "Miracles can happen," he said, to which Parker responded: "Let's hope that those miracles do occur."
Obviously Duran and Parker are talking about totally different miracles. In any case, unless something happens, the discriminatory constitutional reform seems to be heading towards easy ratification in the legislative session that just begun.

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