On Saturday, April 12th, a group of friends and I participated in Marcha por la igualdad (March for Equality), a peaceful pro-civil union march in downtown Lima.
The LGBT rights movement here is relatively new. Peru is a country deeply rooted in Catholicism. The Archbishop of Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani, is one of the most formidable opponents of civil union, which he says “goes against natural law.” A conservative, religious faction in Lima is still both strong and vocal. On March 22, thousands took the streets for Marcha por la vida (March for Life), a pro-life initiative.
On the other side is Carlos Bruce, a congressman who drew up the legislation for the civil union law. Other advocates of civil union include Susana Villarán, the mayor of Lima, and Fredy Otárola, president of the Peruvian Congress.
On Saturday, supporters showed up in Washington Park to begin the march at 3 PM. Unión Civil Ya, an LGBT rights advocacy group, encouraged people to participate through social media. Similar marches also took place in other cities, including Trujillo (capital of the northern region La Libertad).
Some chants from the march:
Peruano, escucha / la unión civil es lucha (Peruvian, listen / civil union is a fight)
Hetero y gay / con una misma ley (Hetero and gay / under the same law)
Gay marriage is legal in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Colombia and Ecuador both legally recognize gay couples. The vote to pass civil union in Peru has been postponed until after the Easter holidays.