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Symbolic weddings between same-sex couples in Nicaragua

Six same-sex couples celebrated a symbolic wedding on Feb. 21 in front of the headquarters of the National Assembly to demand the legalization of gay marriage.The lawyer who officiated the symbolic wedding, Braulio Abarca from the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center, pointed out that “Nicaragua must become one of the countries to legalize unions between individuals of the same gender.” Gay marriage is illegal in this Central American country.

Latinamerica Press/ALC
Managua, Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Marvin Mayorga, leader of the Sexual Diversity for Human Rights Initiative, explained to the press that the act was “a civil protest in the face of the National Assembly’s refusal to seriously and responsibly take on the issue.” In 2012 the Legislature approved the Family Code, which defines marriage as “the union between a man and a woman.”

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual (LGBTI) community sent 57 petitions to the Legislature to include same-sex marriage in the Family Code; however, the petitions were unheeded.

According to Mayorga, the LGBTI groups were never consulted during the debate of the Family Code, and he believes that legislators of the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) gave in to pressure from the Catholic Church as well as evangelical faiths that oppose gay marriage. Members of evangelical churches manifested against gay marriage while rhetoric from catholic pulpits insisted that “the true family is based on a stable union between a man and a woman.”

Millions without legal protection

For José Sánchez, columnist for the newspaper La Prensa, “we can be in favor or against gay marriage and its inclusion in the concept of family, yet it’s undeniable that there are notable advances so that [gay marriage] becomes a reality, including in Nicaragua. It is only a matter of time before two people of the same sex sign a marriage certificate before a public notary.”

Meanwhile, the LGBTI community has decided to continue with activities such as symbolic weddings to place the issue on the national agenda.

In Nicaragua “there are Constitutional reforms regarding presidential reelections and delicate issues for the country,” Mayorga pointed out, “but half a million of [LGBTI] persons  have no legal protection. We are willing to continue demanding with peaceful, symbolic protests.”

Nicaragua was the last country in the continent to decriminalize homosexuality in 2008 when the new Penal Code came into force, repealing an article that penalized sexual relations between men with three years in prison.

While in 2009 the office of the Special Ombudsman for Sexual Diversity was created within the office of the Ombudsman for the Defense of Human Rights, activists agree that in Nicaragua there still are no guarantees for LGBTI individuals to be considered subjects with rights.

Source: Latinamerica Press:

Photo: Symbolic same-sex weddings in Managua, Nicaragua (

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Information and analysis about the social-ecclesial reality, development and human rights in Latin America and other regions of the world
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