Religious Groups Threaten Lawmakers for Article 103
Associated Press, May 30,
By Istra Pacheco
In a series of threatening speeches, various religious
groups on Friday opposed the derogation of Article 103 of the Penal Code,
which classifies sexual relationships between couples of the same sex as
The Chairman of Pentecostal Churches of God, Rev. Pedro
Torres Velazquez, said that if the legislature eliminates article 103 and
tries to approve marriage between people of the same sex, his parishioners are
ready to go to jail to prevent it.
“The Government will need a lot of money to expand
prisons (because) we are ready to be in jail to avoid it,” said Torres
Velazquez at a packed legislative hearing, where a police officer had to
control the entryway.
The chairman of the Pentecostal Fraternity (FRAPE), Rev.
Angel Marcial, condemned the fact that only Judiciary Committee chairman
Eudaldo Baez Galib was present at the public hearing.
“When the evangelists come to the legislature, senators
vanish, but then, those are the ones who visit our churches seeking votes,”
said Marcial angrily. At the same time, he said, parishioners “will be
paying attention to those legislators who listen to the gay population when
they visit the legislature” at the time of general elections.
“Our population is bigger (than the one which endorses
eliminating Article 103), and in electoral terms, that’s what counts,”
said Torres Velazquez.
Five religious organizations participated in the public
hearing to oppose the derogation of Article 103, citing that it may promote a
form of sexual intercourse which to their knowledge represents more risk of
sexually transmitted disease.
Most of the speeches contained explicit language on anal
intercourse and its alleged negative impact on human health.
“There are studies which reveal that sodomy is an
urgent public health problem that has to be managed by the state. . . and the
state is required to protect the health, safety and people’s morals,” said
Angel Esteban Martinez, chairman of the Evangelist Christian Churches Network.
Contrary to what Martinez has said he would do on
Wednesday, he did not include in his written speech a proposal for a
referendum to allow the people to decide if Article 103 of the Penal Code
should be derogated.
Organizations added that leaving Article 103 intact
protects children and is in harmony with Biblical principles.
Meanwhile, nearly 100 people prayed and sang hymns on the
Capitol’s outskirts allegedly asking for “wisdom for the legislators”
who are evaluating the code.
Article 103 allows a sentence from six to 12 years in
prison for a person convicted of sodomy, even when adults have the intercourse
takes place in private between consenting adults.
Homosexual groups say they look forward to derogation of
the article, arguing that it violates the right to intimacy protected by the
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