Central America: pride marchers praise El Salvador's Funes
On June 27 about 200 Costa Ricans joined a Pride march along Paseo Colón to the central park in San José. "Being gay isn't a sickness, it's a sexual preference," said one of the participants in the march, which was initiated by a group of female impersonators who perform in local discotheques. Abelardo Araya, a spokesperson for the Diversity Movement, said his group didn't support the march, which he said "reaffirms myths and prejudices." The Diversity Movement is leading opposition to a referendum scheduled for Dec. 5 on the right to same-sex marriage; LGBT activists fear that conservative Catholics voters will defeat efforts for marriage equality.
On June 25 the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court suspended preparations for the vote while it considers a challenge from civil servant Esteban Quirós, who said that Costa Rica voters couldn't approve a measure that would violate international human rights conventions that the country has signed on to. "It would be impossible to put a human rights issue to a vote," he said. (SentidoG, June 28 from La Nación, Costa Rica; Inside Costa Rica, June 28; Tico Times, June 25)
El Salvador's Pride march was held on June 28, starting at the Paseo General Escalón, west of San Salvador. In contrast to last year's march, which was dedicated to victims of homophobic violence, this year the marchers celebrated efforts by leftist president Mauricio Funes to fight discrimination. "We have things to celebrate and things to mourn," Willian Hernández, of the organization Between Friends, told the Spanish wire service EFE, "but what links us in this moment is the political steps forward that have been taken in this country." He said that although two members of the community have been reported murdered so far this year, the number for all of 2009 was 23. (SentidoG, June 28 from EFE)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 4.