Equal marriage: coming soon to Venezuela?


Let’s hope so. Aporrea has the details on what promises to be a landmark piece of legislation, to be presented this week:

This Friday, the 31st of January, at 9:00 in the morning, the sex/gender diversity community will present before the National Assembly in Caracas the project of the law for egalitarian civil marriage, which proposes a partial modification of the Venezuelan Civil Code, the only juridical instrument in the country which still impedes access to same-sex marriage.

“Article 44 of our Civil Code establishes that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman, in such a form that on Friday, we will present a special legal project which will signify a partial modification to the Civil Code, so that within that article, some sections will be abolished, and others amplified in concept,” explained Giovanni Piermattei, the president of the Egalitarian Venezuela Civil Association, in a press conference.

The activist pointed out that in 2008, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) passed Sentence 190, in which it ratified that the National Constitution did not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and for that reason, the Venezuelan state must not violate the rights of same-sex couples to seek recourse in juridical measures such as marriage, “for which reason this type of unions should neither be prohibited nor condemned”.

Piermattei emphasized that marriage is a human right recognized in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This consecrates that “men and women, upon reaching marriageable age, have the right, with no restrictions based on race, nationality or religion, to marry and start a family; and they shall enjoy equal rights with regard to marriage, throughout the marriage and in the case of dissolution of marriage.”

The activist explained that marriage and family are different concepts. “Families form themselves in reality, and marriage is an instrument to guarantee some protections to those members who make up the family. Marriage is not necessary for forming a family.”

Katherine Castillo, of the Revolutionary Sex-Gender Diverse Alliance (ASGDRE), explained that with this initiative, the LGBTI community demonstrates the popular organization which succeeded during the revolution, making visible these persons as political subjects with rights.

“We are not asking for the right to join an institution such as marriage, but demanding to obtain the benefits which until now have only been consecrated for heterosexuals who are covered under matrimonial law,” Castillo said.

Marriage would permit its members to be available to their partners emotionally and economically, as well as guaranteeing basic protections which heterosexual couples enjoy with respect to child custody, inheritance rights, property, and hospital visits, among others.

Hanays Montaner, a member of the Human Dawn Foundation, took the time to honor the persons who struggle for the defence of their rights.

“This is the time to do this, for these more than 6,000 families who are unprotected because their unions are same-sex. We are here because there are different ways of loving. Enough with the excuses of divine punishment, which is a religious instrument for controlling human beings, to deny us this right!”

Rummy Quintero, of the Civil Divas Association of Venezuela, called this cause a struggle for love, dignity and respect for the LGBTIs, who were always visible under the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chávez.

“Thanks to Comandante Hugo Chávez, we are free and have the right to life, and the right to present before the Assembly this legal project,” Quintero said.

“I call upon the deputies of the National Assembly and I tell them that there is no excuse, we have already done the work. They have to legislate with respect to it. We will remain vigilant to guarantee that Venezuela continues to construct itself in an egalitarian way, for all people, without discrimination.

Some 44 collectives of the sex/gender diverse community will ask that the national parliament approve civil unions for non-heterosexuals. Their presence will be bolstered by approximately 20,000 signatures gathered throughout the country.

Members of the Bolivarian government have already expressed their support. Among them, the revolutionary deputies Tania Díaz, Eduardo Piñate, Carlos Sierra and Eduardo Lima, as well as the governor of Vargas, Jorge Luis García Carneiro, and the governor of Barinas, Adán Chávez. The People’s Ombud, Gabriela Ramírez, has also pronounced herself in favor, as well as the minister of Culture, Fidel Barbarito, and the minister for Women and Gender Equality, Andreína Tarazón.

Egalitarian Venezuela and its allied collectives also have the support of the governments of Mérida, Barinas, Zulia, Táchira, Falcón, Monagas and Yaracuy.

Translation mine.

Chavecito was very much in favor of gay rights — “Gays also have a place in the Revolution”, were his exact words — so this legal measure would be yet another fulfillment of his Bolivarian dream, if it were to go ahead and be approved in the National Assembly.

Pray ’em if you got ’em, folks.

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