Things That Matter

Huge News Out Of Ecuador As The Country Becomes The Latest In Latin America To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

In a landmark ruling for the traditionally conservative country, Ecuador’s highest court on Wednesday voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Judges on the court ruled five-to-four to overhaul the country’s laws. The basis of the argument was Ecuador’s current marriage legislation was discriminatory and unconstitutional towards same-sex couples that should be allowed equal rights. The judges who dissented the vote argued that the court should not rule on changes to the Ecuadorian constitution, instead that should be the governments decision.

Ecuador now joins a group of Latin American nations including, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and Uruguay, that have legalized same-sex marriage in some form.  

Credit:@raymondbraun/Twitter

The historic decision comes during the middle of LGBT Pride month and makes Ecuador one of only a handful of Latin American nations to legally approve of same-sex marriage.

Ecuador’s National Assembly, which is the country’s legislative branch, still has to officially change the laws that define the institution of marriage. After this is done, same-sex couples will be able to marry as soon as the constitutional court informs local government offices of their decision. The court will have 10 days to do this.

This landmark ruling was brought to the constitutional court by two same-sex couples who had petitioned for the right to marry.

Hundreds of LGBTQ supporters celebrated the decision outside the courthouse where the ruling was announced. Pamela Troya and Gaby Correa were one of those celebrating as they petitioned for the right to marry after being denied a license to marry back in 2013.

Troya told CNN she was “overwhelmed with emotion,” after the six-year battle to marry her partner. “The judges decided to be on the right side of history,” Troya said.

The ruling in Ecuador follows recent legislative and constitutional gains for the LGBTQ community.

In 2008, Ecuador voted in favor of constitutional protection that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2013, the controversial conversion therapy practice was banned in rehabilitation institutions. In 2015, adjustments to the labor regulations made it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers on sexual orientation and preference.

While same-sex civil unions have been legal in Ecuador for some years, those couples did not receive the same legal rights and benefits that married couples do. Despite these gains, there are still prevalent homophobic views that continue in various parts of the country.

Many are celebrating the ruling as the decision is a sign of changing perspectives and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community.

Credit:@thomassanders/Twitter

Ecuador is a mostly conservative country with a traditionally Catholic population that up until the last decade, never acknowledged same-sex rights. The legalization of same-sex marriage in the country is a move that is being celebrated and supported around the world.

On Twitter, users expressed their happiness for the countless of same-sex couples that will now get the right to marry. “Same sex marriage is finally a reality in Ecuador!!????️‍???????????? I cannot put in words how happy I am to say I lived to see that happen. Thanks for all the love and support. Love is love and love will always win” one person wrote.

“We’re witnessing an important moment in history,” Matthias Wasik,
programs director for All Out, an International LGBT rights group, told SBS News. “As these victories will send out positive shockwaves across the world and inspire more activists to continue their fight for LGBT+ rights.”

READ: Brazil’s Supreme Court Votes To Make Homophobia And Transphobia Crimes Despite The Bolsonaro Administration Being Vehemently Anti-LGBTQ+

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Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

Entertainment

Singer-Songwriter Kany García Speaks Out Against Conversion Therapy in Puerto Rico

As the Puerto Rican government is debating a bill on conversion therapy, Kany García is speaking out against the controversial practice. The Boricua singer-songwriter wrote an open letter to the senators in favor of Senate Bill 184, which would help end conversion therapy on the island.

Kany is one of Puerto Rico’s most-decorated artists.

García is one of the Puerto Rico’s top artists. She’s won six Latin Grammy out of a career 20 nominations. In March, she was also nominated for her third Grammy Award for her latest album Mesa Para Dos.

This year Kany celebrated five years since coming out.

On Valentine’s Day 2016, García revealed that she was in a relationship with her partner, Jocelyn Troche. The couple is still going strong with Troche appearing in last year’s “Lo Que En Ti Veo.” She and García share beautiful moments in the video. At November’s Latin Grammy Awards, there was a big wave of artists in the LGBTQ+ community in the major categories, including García, Ricky Martin, Pablo Alborán, and Jesse y Joy’s Joy Huerta.

She’s telling Puerto Rican senators to pass Senate Bill 184 in her letter.

Since coming out, García has remained at the forefront of queer issues in Puerto Rico. The passage of Senate Bill 184 seeks to prohibit conversion therapy. The controversial practice has long harmed LGBTQ+ communities. It’s thought of as a way to rid them of their queer gender or sexual identities.

“Puerto Rico deserves that every girl and boy, every young woman and young man can be who they want to be and love who they want to love,” García wrote in her letter. “This measure has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the protection of Puerto Rican children and youth.”

García speaks from her own experience. “I am an example of how to be faithful to who you are. I am a woman who deeply loves her partner and who is loved by her family and by our people. There is nothing to change. There is nothing to repair. There’s nothing to heal. We have to give the same opportunity that I have had, to be who I am, to all our children and youth.”

García further writes that the bill should be passed as-is without any amendments. According to Al Día news, Popular Democratic Party Senators Gretchen Hau, Elizabeth Rosa Velez, and Migdalia Gonzalez have filed several amendments to Senate Bill 184 as of Wednesday. Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi has indicated that he’s ready to override the senators if necessary.

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Read: Thalía, Alejandra Gúzman, Anitta And More Lined-Up for ‘Ellas y Su Música’ Mother’s Day Special

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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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