Thursday, May 04, 2006

Update: El Salvador bans recognition of marriages for same-sex couples

[CORRECTION: In El Salvador's gay marriage ban still needs 2nd vote for passage, posted on May 5th, 2006, I correct this earlier post and explain that a 2nd National Assembly vote has, to date, NOT been taken - despite my comments below - which means that the constitutional amendment still has not been ratified - Apologies for any confusion caused]

If you focus on events happening in different Latin American countries, it's often tough to keep abreast of local politics, legislative bodies, voting processes and constitutional law.

This is why in "
El Salvador: Legislation to ban marriage & adoption for gays closer to approval" (April 22, 2006) I was a bit tentative in spelling out if and when a final legislative vote on an amendment to the constitution would pass.

Guess what, folks! It's done and over with:

As of May 1st, 2006, El Salvador has adopted a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between members that were born with the opposite sex and also limits adoptions to couples whose marriages are legally recognized by law (in effect banning adoptions for gays as well).

Over at Tim's Blog, he spells out how a constitutional amendment has to pass two successive sessions of the National Assembly in order to be adopted, as we noted previously. What we failed to grasp was that the Assembly finalized a session on April 30th and began a new one on May 1st. Well, on May 2nd, EFE reported that, as soon as the new Assembly took session, they got to work on immediately ratifying the proposed amendment language that had passed a first vote just a week earlier. A second Assembly vote was taken and the motion became law on May 1st, 2006.

The article does say that, despite comments by their spokesperson that seemed to back the amendment, none of the 32 legislators associated with the left-wing FMLN voted in favor of the amendment. Unfortunately, the opposition was able to amass the 43 'yes' votes needed from other political parties including 34 votes from the right-wing ARENA party to gain a simple majority and adopt the amendment.

To my knowledge, this makes El Salvador the only Latin American country to adopt a constitutional amendment banning the right to marry to gay couples

[CORRECTION: According to Rex Wockner's International News column of April 4, 2005, Honduras amended its constitution to ban gay marriage on March 29, 2005 and, as we have been reporting, Costa Rica is facing a challenge to its gay marriage ban as well]

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