LGBT rights in Panama

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LGBT rights in Panama
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 2008
Discrimination protections No
Family rights
Recognition of

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Panama may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Panama. Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal benefits and protections available to opposite-sex married couples.


Legality of same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Panama as of 2008.[1][2] The age of consent is equal at 18.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

There is no recognition of same-sex couples. A proposal that would have provided for same-sex civil unions was defeated in 2004, mainly due to pressure on the government from the Catholic Church.[3] 12% of Panamanians support same-sex marriage being recognized in the country.[4]

Legal protections[edit]

There are no laws protecting gays from discrimination. Article 39 of the Constitution forbids the creation of "companies, associations or foundations" that are contrary to moral or legal order. In the past this has been used to refuse registration of gay organisations.

LGBT rights movement in Panama[edit]

In 1996 Panama's first lesbian and gay organisation Asociación Hombres y Mujeres Nuevos de Panamá (AHMNP; "New Men and Women of Panama Association") was founded. It received legal recognition in 2005 after a three-year battle with the authorities and the Catholic Church. It is still the only gay and lesbian organisation in Panama.

In 2004 they presented a petition calling for partnership rights. In June 2005 Panama's first Gay Pride March was held with 100 AHMNP demonstrators.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Decreto Ejecutivo Nº 332 de 29 de julio de 2008". Gaceta Oficial (in Spanish). Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  2. ^ "Gay sex becomes legal in Panama". 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  3. ^ Panama: Support Civil Union Proposal Now under Attack by the Catholic Church
  4. ^ "Abortion Rejected by Nearly 90% of Panamanians, Same Sex ‘Marriage’ Rejected by 80%". 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2014-04-05.