Guatemala lawmakers pass bill to ban same-sex marriage
Lawmakers in Guatemala on Tuesday approved a bill that would formally ban same-sex marriage and define a family as a man and a woman who are raising children together.
The Guatemalan Congress by a 101-8 vote margin approved the “Law for the Protection of Life and the Family” under which a woman who has an abortion would face up to 10 years in prison. Media reports indicate 51 lawmakers did not attend the vote, which took place on International Women’s Day.
Visibles, a Guatemala City-based LGBTQ rights group, described the bill as “a law that promotes hate, violence, disqualification and dehumanization of those who dare to demand a more free and just world.”
“It is a regressive law that criminalizes girls, women and the LGBTIQ community through the exercise of their rights and freedoms,” said Visibles in a tweet.
“I never see marriage equality in Guatemala,” former Visibles Executive Director Daniel Villatoro told the Washington Blade on Friday.
Villatoro is currently a human rights fellow at Columbia University and the coordinator of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s LGBTQI+ and Women’s Rights Reporting Initiative in Latin America. Villatoro noted the bill would also codify the government’s official position that sexual education in the country’s schools should not promote “any sexuality that is not heterosexuality.”
“It is something broader,” Villatoro told the Blade. “It is a very heavy pathologization. It is anti-LGBT.”
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2018 issued a landmark ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage and transgender rights in the Western Hemisphere. Guatemala is among the countries in which the decision is legally binding.
Media reports indicate President Alejandro Giammattei has said he would veto the bill because it violates international treaties. Villatoro noted Giammattei plans to send the measure back to Congress for further review.
“The law from its inception is unconstitutional,” said Congressman Aldo Dávila, who is openly gay and living with HIV, on Thursday in a video he posted to social media.