The anti-gay marriage protest held in Panama City during the week, was considered as a form of incitement to hatred against minorities, according to Juan Alonzo, who is president of the Nuevos Horizontes Association, an organization that works to defend the rights of LGBT communities in Panama. "Panama must understand that as we are a State of Law, we must legislate, so that majorities and minorities can live in harmony and peace," said Alonzo.
He believes that the term family was used to attack a group of society, "these demonstrations respond to hate speech that for many years have been delivered by religious leaders in this country and churchgoers because they ignore human rights. The term ignorant is not an insult; it is a condition at some time. Just as I do not know many things at this time in my life, many people also ignore that human rights are for everybody."
Alonzo considers that the State should include this issue on their agenda because they would be in a defenseless situation, "There still lays in the National Assembly the bill that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In Panama, any person can commit an outrage against us because of hate because there is no way to categorize it," said the Human Rights Ombudsman who added that the Judicial Branch also has a pending issue with regard to the unconstitutionality notices filed in favor of the LGBT community, as well as they are awaiting recognition in courts of same-sex marriages involving Panamanian citizens.
According to Alonzo, "hate speech" promotes an increase in discrimination and even an increase in violence. He mentioned the impact that expressions against LGBT communities have had in Central America, including murders.
For the representative of the LGBT community there are interests around the issue "it is a political game, they are playing with lives, they are playing with the lives of the LGBT people of this country by raffling the decisions at this moment. Hopefully not, hopefully Panama can act in law as it is the responsibility of the instances where we have filed the notices of unconstitutionality because the constitution says it clearly, marriage is the union between spouses; it does not say between a man and a woman; it says between adults, spouses, who decide to marry."
The president of the Nuevos Horizontes Association said that it is estimated that 10% of the Panamanian population has manifested at some point having a homosexual or bisexual orientation; however, many of the people are afraid of the reaction of a part of society.