LGBT rights in Ecuador
|LGBT rights in Ecuador|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Yes|
|Yes, but refer to main text for full explanation|
|Constitution defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman|
|Adoption||Same-sex couples may not adopt. Single persons not restricted|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Ecuador may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Ecuador, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Ecuador since 1997 when the Constitutional Tribunal, in Case No. 111-97-TC, overturned the first paragraph of Article 516 of the Penal Code, which criminalized sexual activities between persons of the same sex.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Article 67 of the Ecuadorian Constitution adopted in 2009 limits marriage to the union of a man and a woman. However, according to an unofficial English language translation of Article 68 the article provides that same-sex couples in stable and monogamous unions enjoy the same rights and obligations of married couples.
The stable and monogamous union between two persons without any other marriage ties who have a common-law home, for the lapse of time and under the conditions and circumstances provided for by law, shall enjoy the same rights and obligations of those families bound by formal marriage ties.[Note 1]
Adoption of children
Article 68 of the Ecuador Constitution states, "La adopción corresponderá sólo a parejas de distinto sexo." An unofficial English language translation of this provision states, "Adoption shall only be permitted for different-gender couples." The constitution is silent about adoptions by single individuals.
Under Ecuadorean statutory law, however, a single person is allowed to adopt a child, although a legally constituted heterosexual couple has priority over the single person.[Note 2]
Ecuador includes both sexual orientation and gender identity in its constitutional prohibition against discrimination. An unofficial English language translation of Article 11(2) states,
All persons are equal and shall enjoy the same rights, duties and opportunities. No one shall be discriminated against for reasons of ethnic belonging, place of birth, age, sex, gender identity, cultural identity, civil status, language, religion, ideology, political affiliation, legal record, socio-economic condition, migratory status, sexual orientation, health status, HIV carrier, disability, physical difference or any other distinguishing feature, whether personal or collective, temporary or permanent, which might be aimed at or result in the diminishment or annulment of recognition, enjoyment or exercise of rights. All forms of discrimination are punishable by law. The State shall adopt affirmative action measures that promote real equality for the benefit of the rights-bearers who are in a situation of inequality.
A fairly large gay scene has developed in Quito and Guayaquil. The first gay pride in Ecuador had place in Quito, in 1998, following the Constitutional Court ruling that overturned the law that prohibited sexual acts between people of the same sex. Nevertheless, Ecuador has a conservative and macho culture, and homosexuality continues to be viewed negatively by society.
Since the last decade, many gay-pride marches have been organized in all major cities, with the authorization of authorities and police protection, in addition to their participation. In Guayaquil's gay-pride march of 2011, for instance, among those present were the province's vice-prefect Luzmila Nicolaide, city council member Gino Molinari, and National Assambleist Gina Godoy, while the police band played traditional songs.
There have also been LGBT film festivals organized in the major cities.
The U.S. Department of State's 2011 Human Rights Report found that,
The constitution includes the principle of nondiscrimination and establishes choice of sexual orientation as a right. Although the law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gay, lesbian, and transgender persons continued to suffer discrimination from both public and private bodies. LGBT organizations reported that transgender persons suffered more discrimination because they were more visible. LGBT groups claimed that police and prosecutors did not thoroughly investigate deaths of LGBT individuals, including when there was suspicion that the killing was because of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT organizations and credible media sources reported that LGBT persons were interned against their will in private treatment centers to "cure" or "dehomosexualize" them, although such treatment is illegal. The clinics reportedly used cruel treatments, including rape, in an attempt to change LGBT persons' sexual orientation. In August[,] the government reported that it closed 30 such centers, but LGBT organizations reported that other illegal clinics continued to operate. Members of the LGBT community continued to report that their right of equal access to formal education was frequently violated. The LGBT population involved in the commercial sex trade reported abusive situations, extortion, and mistreatment by security forces.
Gay-to-straight conversion clinics
In November 2011, an Ecuadorean activist group, called Fundación Causana, began a petition on Change.org to entreat the Ecuadorean minister of health to close down more than 200 "ex-gay clinics". The group claimed that the clinics abuse and torture patients in an effort to "cure homosexuality".
The clinics primarily targeted lesbians and operated under the guise of being drug rehabilitation centers. At least one pair of parents discovered the abuse and asked for the clinic to release their daughter, Paola Ziritti, but were denied. Ziritti was eventually released after two years of confinement and was the first to press a formal complaint against the clinics.
Activists consequently called on the government to close down the clinics, but as of August 2011, only 27 had been closed while a reported 207 clinics remained open.
On 23 January 2012, the Change.org petition was closed and marked as a success with 113,761 international signatures. The petition also was updated with a statement from Fundacion Causana reading,
After ten years of outcry, the nation of Ecuador - through the Ministry of Public Health - has entered into a commitment with civic organizations and society in general to deconstruct the belief that homosexuality is an illness and root out the use of torture in these clinics. We extend our thanks to all the men and women who signed our petition. It has been invaluable to have this support in starting to change this reality.
2013 election homophobic remarks
After the 2013 Ecuadorian general election, Nelson Zavala, an evangelical preacher and the presidential candidate who finished last out of eight candidates, was sentenced by an election court to pay more than $3,000 in fines for his homophobic remarks. The court also prohibited him for a year from standing as a candidate or from affiliating himself or being involved with a political party or movement. During the campaign, he called gay people "sinners" and "immoral" and said they suffered from "severe deviation of conduct". LGBT activists applauded the ruling as a "landmark". Zavala appealed the verdict, but the ruling was ratified in the last instance on 19 March 2013.
In the elections of 2013, the LGBTI activist Diane Marie Rodriguez Zambrano of Silueta X Association, became the first openly transgender candidate who ran a public office. Concluding his candidacy Ecuador President Rafael Correa Delgado showed his respect for the work of the social activist. Months later I was invited to change Presidential Guard. In December 2013 the activist led the first group LGBTI meeting with President Rafael Correa. The meeting concluded with several agreements.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(since 1997)|
|Equal age of consent||(since 1997)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only||(since 1997)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services||(since 1997)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)||(since 1997)|
|Fundamental right to Gender Identity||(since 2008)|
|Fundamental right to sexual orientation||(since 2008)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples||(since 2009)|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender (legal precedent)||(since 2009)|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
- Case No. 111-97-TC (1997), is a landmark decision by the Constitutional Tribunal of Ecuador on November 25, 1997, regarding the country's sodomy laws.
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Ecuador, (2009), Civil unions for same-sex couples were legalized by the approval of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador.
- Legal Precedent (2009), Right to change legal names female to male and vice-versa for people transgender and intersex by the approval of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador.
- LGBT rights in the Americas
- In Spanish, the official version of Article 68 reads as follows:
La unión estable y monogámica entre dos personas libres de vínculo matrimonial que formen un hogar de hecho, por el lapso y bajo las condiciones y circunstancias que señale la ley, generará los mismos derechos y obligaciones que tienen las familias constituidas mediante matrimonio. Article 68, Constitución de la República del Ecuador
- In Spanish, the official version of the statute reads as follows: "Se priorizará la adopción por parte de parejas heterosexuales constituidas legalmente, sobre la adopción por parte de personas solas...." Article 153(3), Código de la Niñez y Adolescencia de Ecuador, retrieved 26 January 2013
- "Shutting Down Clinics that 'Cure Homosexuality' in Ecuador", The Human Rights Brief, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, reported by Christina Fetterhoff, 28 November 2011, retrieved 23 January 2013
- (Spanish) CODIGO PENAL ECUADOR
- "Voters in Ecuador Approve Constitution", Washington Post, reported by Joshua Partlow and Stephan Küffner, 29 September 2008
- Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, Political Database of the Americas, 31 January 2011
- (Spanish) "Apoyo al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en América Latina", Perspectivas desde el Barómetro de las Américas, authored by Germán Lodola and Margarita Corral, 2010 (No. 44), retrieved 23 January 2013
- "Ecuador Approves New Constitution Including Same-Sex Civil Unions", Towleroad, posted by Andy Towle, 30 September 2008, retrieved 23 January 2013
- (Spanish) Article 68, Constitución de la República del Ecuador
- "Gay Ecuador". Gay Guide. Gay Times. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- (Spanish) El Universo El GLBTI, colectivo que gana espacios. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- (Spanish)"Comunidad Glbti del Ecuador celebró Día del Orgullo Gay", El Universo, reported by Alexandra Avila, 2 July 2011
- (Spanish)"Desfile del orgullo 2011 en Guayaquil", Gay Ecuador
- (Spanish)"Es Ecuador sede de festival de cine LGBT en Latinoamérica", Inthecloset, 12 October 2011
- "Ecuador: Lesbian Activist Appointed to Presidential Cabinet", The Advocate, reported by Michelle Garcia, 24 January 2012
- 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ecuador, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, page 25
- "Ecuador Minister of Health: Close remaining ex-gay torture clinics in Ecuador". Change.org. Change.org. January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Lesbian Torture Clinics in Ecuador- Claiming to "Cure" Them". Hispanically Speaking News. Hispanically Speaking News. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Why 200 Lesbian Torture Clinics Are Still Operating in Ecuador". The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Lesbians Escape From Ecuador's "Ex-Gay" Torture Centers". The Advocate. The Advocate. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Rights groups hail Ecuador's crackdown on lesbian 'torture clinics'". MSNBC. 25 January 2012.
- "Ecuador preacher sentenced for homophobic comments", BBC News, 11 March 2013
- "Ecuadorian Ex Presidential Candidate And Preacher, Nelson Zavala, Penalized For Homophobic Comments", The Huffington Post, 12 March 2013
- (Spanish)"TCE ratifica sentencia contra excandidato presidencial Nelson Zavala", El Universo, 19 March 2013
- First Transgender Candidate in Ecuador Ecuavisa - Televistazo . Retrieved September 17, 2013
- Diario El Comercio - In Spanish Breaking drives transgender candidate. Retrieved August 11 2013.
- Extra Journal - In Spanish, Exceeded the discrimination and now struggle for social inclusion! Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- Twitter President Ecuador, Rafael Correa - In Spanish, "@DianeRodriguezZ Estimada Diane: sólo quería decirle que la admiro y respeto profundamente, aunque no comparta todos sus postulados." Retrieved on May 08, 2014.
- Social Promises - In Spanish, Retrieved on May 08, 2014.
- Diario el Comercio - In Spanish, "Gays have a place for meetings". Retrieved on May 08, 2014.
- Gender Studies Network - In Spanish President Rafael Correa invites presidential change of guard Transexual activist Diane Rodriguez. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- Agency Los Andes, Historic meeting between the President of Ecuador and the GLBTI community to allow moving forward in claiming rights. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- Journal Universo - In Spanish, 15 murders of GLBTI investigate the government. Retrieved March 27, 2014.