Same-sex marriage could be coming to Panama if LGBTI activists win a legal fight with the Supreme Court of Justice.
Álvaro José López Levy is hoping for the Central American country’s highest court to agree to change the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
Article 26 of the Family Code currently defines marriage as a ‘voluntary union between man and woman, who come together to make and share a life’.
He believes this is unconstitutional.
Panama has no recognition of same-sex couples. In 2008 it became the last Spanish-speaking country in Latin America to abolish historic anti-sodomy laws.
Levy’s petition hopes to declare parts of the sentences unconstitutional, the line ‘between man and woman’.
Transatlantic gay couple launched original petition for same-sex marriage in Panama
It’s the second petition filed over the course of six months.
Levy’s claim joins Enrique Raúl Jelenszky and John Winstaley, who filed for similar claims on 17 October last year.
Jelenszky, a Panamanian lawyer, and Winstanley, a British executive, had a civil union in May 2008 at the British Embassy in Panama.
Eight years later, when a British citizen could marry in the embassy of a different country, this became a marriage.
Panama’s Supreme Court has yet to reach a decision on the petition.
Gay couples may not receive equal rights even if they can get married
Juan Carlos Araúz, president of the National Bar Association, has warned same-sex couples might not receive the same benefits as straight couples even if they win the right to marry.
Araúz told newspaper La Estrella if an LGBTI person wants to insure their partner through the Social Security Fund, they might still be turned down even if same-sex marriage becomes legal.
If that’s the case, they would have to start a process so the institution can recognize their marriage, Araúz said.
Some lawyers have already voiced their opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage.
Lawyer claims no famous gay ‘creative’ ever wanted to get married
Gilberto Boutin, dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Panama, claimed marriage equality was a US concept – or an ‘import of gringolandia’.
He also claimed the Ancient Greeks, who he called the ‘parents of homosexuality’, did not allow same-sex marriage.
‘No monotheistic religion accepts homosexuality, neither Christianity, nor Buddhism nor Islam,’ he said.
‘One has to ask, if what is sought is a homosexual movement to replace a secular state with a homosexual state?’
Boutin also told Panamá Americá his opposition to same-sex marriage was based on how no famous gay man in history ever wished to get married.
‘The condition of being gay was to be happy with a hedonistic freedom’, he said.