The Lawmaking Assembly of El Salvador will once more discuss the controversial theme of homosexual marriages on April 23. The declaration is ready to be approved and all the political parties, except the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), are ready to support a Constitutional amendment that establishes that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. The amendment needs 56 votes for approval. The Catholic Church presented 300,000 signatures against homosexual unions.
Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador, on April 19, wrote a statement to the leaders of the Lawmaking Assembly, thanking them “for having had the initiative to establish an ad hoc committee to evaluate and promote the ratification of the Constitutional amendment of Articles 32, 33, and 34 in defense of marriage and the family.” He also recalled that “promotion and defense of the family has always been a concern for the Church, in her commitment to the common good and happiness of the human person and society at large.”
Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar also affirms that the amendment “is not an attack on specific groups” as some claim, but rather “an essential protection of marriage, establishing what marriage truly is and should be.” When the institution of marriage is weakened, the Archbishop said, “society is weakened.” The Prelate explained that “the unions of people of the same sex are immoral and cannot be called marriage. If these occur, they would be something else.” Thus, “we cannot impede people. Each person is free to establish relations with another person, however this union would not be marriage.” In saying this, “we do not wish anything negative for anyone. The benefit it brings is for the good of society and marriage, as they are principles and fundamental values of the family. In a permissive society, which falls into decay and allows for this type of life or tolerates it as something good, loses its moral level. Thus, the Church and the various institutions of society are concerned for the protection of the moral and ethical values of the family, which is the basis of society.”
The Archbishop and his Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez, along with priests from across the country went to present the 300,000 signatures from all over the country to Congress. The signtaures are from citizens who ask that a Constitutional amendment be made that would prohibit any possibility of homosexual marriages. On Tuesday, the Archbishop met with several lawmakers, exposing the need to make laws to assure that this situation does not occur in El Salvador. The Archbishop reiterated the fact that it is not a discrimination towards those who claim to have a different sexual orientation, whose freedoms are still maintained. “The only thing we want to safeguard is the good of the family, the good of marriage, the good of society. What we want is to place locks to conserve the values of society,” Archbishop Escobar said.
In the previous legislative period, and upon the request of the Democratic Christian Party (PDC), a Constitutional reform bill was approved in 2006 establishing that in El Salvador, only marriages between a man and a woman. This would imply that in the future, no homosexual weddings would be authorized. In order for the Constitutional changes to enter into effect, they must be approved by a simple majority in the lawmaking body, which in El Salvador implies half plus one of the 84 deputies, and later ratified by a qualified majority of 56 votes, in the following legislative period. The current legislature that will have to ratify the reform, concludes its period of three years on May 1, when the newly elected (this past January) deputies take office.