A massive demonstration of religious groups on Panama City streets lead to the outskirts of the National Assembly. The main slogan of the march was the rejection of same-sex marriage. Mostly religious sectors marched to the sound of Christian songs and banners that highlighted the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, and demanded the authorities to avoid legalizing same-sex union.
"Thousands of Panamanians are trying to avoid the introduction of gender ideology in Panama. We don’t want gender ideology. We don’t want the introduction of foreign organizations into our legislation," said Juan Francisco De La Guardia Brin, president of the Panamanian Alliance for Life and Family.
Last January, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) called on the signatory countries of the American Convention, where Panama is included, to adapt their rules and practices to allow, among other things, same-sex marriage.
De La Guardia said, "They have the right to marry as human beings to people of different sex. Marriage is one. Marriage is between a man and a woman. The most important Court in Europe, which is the Court of Strasbourg, said that marriage is not a right, it is an institution that has its way to enter it and if you don’t comply with it, you can’t enter".
As a member of the Catholic Church, Father Ángel Acuña believes that religious controversies cannot be created around the issue. "We are not really against that thought, but today we came to declare that the Panamanian family is the basis of our society and our customs. We are not denying rights to anyone. Certain rights must be recognized: the right to succession, to inheritance, etc.", said the priest.
The representation of the Confederation of Parents of Family was also part of the demonstration. One of its members, Abdiel Bedoya, said that their human rights are that, "they can exist and live together but without affecting nature and children. This brings a distortion of human nature. Same-sex marriage cannot be family. A gay couple will never bear children".
The presidential candidate Agustín Sosa Peñalba also echoed the motor of the demonstration. "We are not against homosexuals, we do not denigrate them, we do not discriminate against them. They have every right to join among them, it can be done, there must be done contracts between them but without involving the State in a situation where the State should not be involved. We reject that legal union."
The march ended with a rally at the Plaza de Mayo. It is the third mobilization staged since 2016 against same-sex marriage.