High court fails to reach decision on gay marriage, says it will try again

Jun 4, 2019 | 9 comments

Ecuador’s Constitutional Court failed to reach a decision Tuesday on the legality of marriage between same sex partners. The court had been asked by a lower court to adopt the language of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that recognizes marriages regardless of sex.

LGBTI activists gathered outside the Constitutional Court chambers in Quito on Tuesday. (El Comercio)

Following five hours of discussion, the judges announced they were unable to rule on the request of the Pichincha Provincial Court of Justice but said they would continue deliberations on a date to be determined. The Pichincha court’s recommendation to adopt the language of the Inter-American Court stemmed from a May 2018 case following the denial by the Quito civil registry office of a marriage license to Efraín Soria and Javier Benalcázar.

“We are extremely disappointed that the court failed to act today,” Soria said. “The legal precedent has been established and there is no excuse for the delay. This is an embarrassment for Ecuador.”

Soria also complained about the manner in which the case was handled by the court. “From the time the judges received the request from the provincial court, they have handled the case with secrecy, concealing documents that they used in their presentations.”

Christian Paula, president of the Pakta Foundation, said the judges’ decision to postpone a decision was irresponsible. “Ecuador ratified the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, which recognizes the legality of same sex marriage,” he said. “This means that that the judgment is binding on Ecuador.”

Pakta Foundation is representing eight same sex marriage applications in Ecuador.

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