In recent times, we have witnessed in Argentina valuable and necessary debates and transformations, both legal and social, in the field of discrimination by sexual condition.
We know that laws and policies are not isolated from society, they are the result of the latter, and at the same time they can modify it. In this sense, equal marriage in Argentina demonstrates our evolution as a society: we are more open and tolerant, and different sexual conditions are expressed in a much more natural way. What is different is no longer seen as a threat, an illness, or something that should be corrected or changed, but quite the opposite: the acceptance of differences and diversity are now a positive value.
At the same time, it is equally true that, despite the forceful advance social and legal, much remains to do: daily acts of violence and discrimination against transvestites, trans, and homosexuals are still going on. I am gay, and I was victim of one of them. While my case had public significance and I have received countless signs of support that I appreciate and value, are still many cases of violence which does not transcend and unpunished. We should be able to as a society to confront the difficulties and challenges ahead. We must move forward to stop these things happen.
In 1988 was enacted the law 23592 of discriminatory acts, which set up a breakthrough for the time and is currently in force. Three are the central points of this law. On the one hand, it provides the exercise and enjoyment of rights and fundamental guarantees enshrined in the national Constitution by all the inhabitants, in the case of measures or actions of arbitrary discrimination, the victim may request cessation of the action that undermines the right, either economic reparation for damage. Secondly, the law aggravated the penalties for offences in the criminal code that are committed on grounds of racial, religious, ethnic or national hatred. Thirdly, the rule created a new specific criminal figure to suppress organizations which made propaganda based on ideas or theories of superiority of a race, religion, ethnic origin or colour, and which justify or promote racial or religious discrimination in any form.
However, acts of discrimination law does not include expressly discrimination by sexual condition which, on the other hand, is not in our country an aggravating factor in the Commission of a crime. It is needed then the policy relevant changes so that the law of acts Discrimnatorios and our criminal code accompany the constitutional reform of 1994, which granted constitutional rank to international treaties on human rights that condemn discrimination on sexual orientation, and the most recent law of equal marriage, no doubt a milestone in the history of human rights in our country. The Congress of the nation debate today a draft law that explicitly includes discrimination because of sexual orientation protected guarantees both the aggravating circumstances of the criminal code. It would be unfortunate to have to occur a tragedy, such as the murder of homosexuals in 1998 in the United States and in 2012 in Chile, so that the subject concerned and debated quickly.
At the same time, it is essential that discrimination, injustice and violence are also addressed from a cultural perspective. We need to overcome laws but also social behavior based on respect, tolerance and co-existence that sustain and strengthen achievements in the anti-discrimination field. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights enshrined in constitutions, laws and treaties that are nothing more than mere declarations of intent if we are not committed to defend them and to exercise them daily, recognizing them also to our neighbor, regardless of their race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or sexual condition.
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