Supreme Court of Panama Rejects Equal Marriage Because “It Is Not A Human Right”


The decision of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of closing the door to equal marriage has been received with disappointment and concern by the LGBTI community in Panama and in the world. In its ruling, the plenary declared that the phrases “between a man and a woman” and “persons of the same sex” contained in the Family Code are not unconstitutional.

According to the press release released by the CSJ, the right to equal marriage does not have the category of human right or fundamental right, since it lacks conventional and constitutional recognition. This ruling was supported by seven magistrates, while one issued a reasoned vote and another saved his vote.

The lawsuit to recognize equal marriage in Panama was filed in 2016 and 2017 by the forensic firm Morgan & Morgan. The first warning of unconstitutionality was filed by Enrique Jelenszky and his partner John Winstanley in October 2016. The second was filed in April 2017 by Álvaro José López Levy.

Both lawsuits sought to declare unconstitutional the phrases contained in article 26 of the Family Code that state that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, as well as numeral 1 of article 34 of this same code, which talks about the impossibility that two people of the same sex can marry. In addition, they requested the unconstitutionality of article 35 of Law 61 of 2015 on the Code of Private International Law of Panama, which prohibits same-sex marriage.

The decision of the CSJ goes against the criteria established by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights which has established clear principles on non-discrimination of persons LGBTI and the right to equality and non-discrimination recognizing sexual orientation as a category protected by the American Convention on Human Rights.

Fundación Libertad expressed disappointment at the ruling, noting that it reaffirms discrimination and denies protection to families. In addition, they stress that this ruling shows that Panama is far from being an inclusive and fair country. The fight for the recognition of equal marriage continues in Panama and throughout the world, in defense of human rights and equality before the law. (

Barceló Solymar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top