Saturday, April 25, 2009

Catholic Church presents 300,000 signatures against equality

The Catholic Church presented El Salvador's Legislative Assembly with 300,000 signatures of people who are in favor of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman. Only 56 votes are needed to approve the amendment, and all but one political party (FMLN) have stated their support for the amendment. The Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar Alas (left), stated that the legislation would not discriminate against homosexual relationships. Instead, the legislation would serve to "safeguard the good of the family, the good of matrimony, and the good of society." He further stated, "We want to put up padlocks so that society's values are firm."

In an interview published in La Página, Ana Cisneros (right), a leader of the LGBT rights movement in El Salvador and honorary member of Las Dignas, stated that the Catholic Church does not have the moral ground to oppose same sex marriages. Cisneros stated that if the Catholic Church truly wanted to protect the institutions of marriage and family, the Church would work to create better conditions so families can be lifted out of poverty. As for the Legislative Assembly, "it would be better if they dedicated themselves to creating legislation that would protect children and single women or generate jobs." In an allusion to the Church's hardline stance on abortion and contraception, Cisneros asserted, "The Catholic Church cares about you when you are a fetus, but when a person is born, it abandons him or her." Cisneros admitted that marriage is not the end-all-be-all for the LGBT community in El Salvador, but "we want the same rights, that's choose our own way of life."

*Photos from Day Life and La Página.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

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