Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Sexual liberty" language eliminated from Dominican Republic Civil Code reform draft

Today a Commissioner in charge of recommending reforms in the Dominican Republic's Civil Code announced that language referring to "sexual liberty" would be removed from a current draft amendment following a chorus of anger that resulted when the proposed changes were leaked to press over the weekend.

On Sunday, Diario Libre had reported that the proposed draft, which would be presented to Congress for ratification,
would include the following passage:
The right to life, to physical integrity, to liberty, to honor, to sexual liberty [libre sexualidad], in addition to other primary attributes integral to a person and established by the Constitution and complimentary laws, cannot be waived, and their expression cannot be limited voluntarily except as prescribed in the second paragraph of article 17-3
On Monday, Diario Libre reported that the response has been swift. Conservative attorney Alejandro Asmar Sanchez, associated with a sports club called Naco, told Diario Libre that the draft language would open the doors to marriage for same-sex couples and that it would lead to chaos: "Here [in the Dominican Republic] we already have rampant corruption, where sex is concerned, but if its legalized, then where are we heading?" Interim Attorney General Rodolfo Espiñeira (pictured above) argued that society "does not permit sexual liberty" or is ready for it "I think ours is still a conservative society, with deeply entrenched family principles." He added that the Dominican Republic was not ready to see same-sex couples get married and said "I don't think we are yet civilized enough for legislation of this nature."

For his part, Alejandro Moscoso Segarra, Commissioner of Support for the Reform and Modernization of Justice, tried to defend the language arguing that it did not refer in any way to same-sex partnerships but was limited to "sexual liberty" between couples of the opposite sex.

Today, after the outcry, Commissioner Moscoso Segarra finally desisted from defending the draft language and announced it would be eliminated from the draft document "to avoid confusion and misunderstanding."

The paper also says that, to date, there has been no visible reaction from those who might support leaving the "sexual liberty" language in the draft amendment.

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