Apr 092013
La semana pasada. La asambleísta Gina Godoy (A. País) y la presidenta del Tribunal Contencioso Electoral, Catalina Castro (der.). Joffre Flores

One of the debates that left the election campaign of last February still not is has settled. It's the fine line that can exist between the right to freedom of expression and discrimination.

A video with statements from Nelson Zavala, pastor and former presidential candidate of the PRE, against "homosexuality" was the starting point of a forum held last week in Guayaquil.

The call attracted a small group of the community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and Intersexos (Glbti) Museo Nahim Isaias lobby. The silhouette X group, led by former candidate transgender lawmaker Diane Rodríguez, organized the event.

Gina Godoy, re-elected Assemblyman with Alianza País, and Catalina Castro, President of the Electoral contentious Tribunal (TCE) discussed the topic on the Forum. This latter body ratified the sentence of the judge Patricio Baca who stripped Zavala of his political rights for one year, fined with USD 3 180.

The process against Zavala departed for his statements against the LGBTI community during the last election campaign. Both Godoy and Castro branded the verdict as "historic".

But the evangelical pastor said that you affected their right to express themselves and their freedom of religion.

Who is right? Henry Raad Analyst believes that the line between freedom of expression and discrimination is subjective. At its discretion, Zavala "he was preaching and is an error do so in an election campaign because it is getting into a complex area. Not it discriminated but preached".

But Castro claimed during the Forum, that the TCE defended the rights of a minority as the Glbti community. "Zavala has the right to freedom of opinion but that right has limits, and those limits are given when it begins to attack other groups."

In addition, he said aspiring that "this message is clear for all political subjects". In 2014 will be the sectional authorities elections.

"These expressions of hatred, homophobia explicit, can be in an election campaign", said Godoy. The legislator added that the National Assembly has a debt with the Glbti community: the reform of the law of Civil Registry that allows the changed gender in the identity card. It also dismissed as evidence of "their complexes and their discriminatory attitude" the concern of some sectors that this change allows homosexual couples to adopt children. This project discussed in the Justice Committee.

Independent Assemblyman, Enrique Herrería, argues that the ruling against Zavala cannot be used as a legal precedent against those who are opposed to the reform of the Civil Register Act. In addition, that the concern of the adoption of children by same-sex couple is valid. According to him, such bill which was discussed in the first debate "leave open that possibility".

Blacksmith noted that the legal texts must be absolutely clear to avoid interpretations. The text lends itself to interpretations, therefore, as it is the text so far, I would not give my vote.

The fate of Zavala

In addition to the sanctionin the TCE, this body held that there are "presumptions of criminal responsibility" in the statements of former candidate roldosista, Nelson Zavala.

With that argumentthe dossier was referred to the Prosecutor's Office. LGBTI activists argue that not act ex officio the institution, they denounce him for inciting hatred.

The crime of hate It is punishable by imprisonment of between six months and 16 years. Zavala presented an extraordinary protection action because "my rights have been violated".

Free expression or discrimination?, Zavala is opening the debate

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