Thousands of people took to the streets of downtown Lima on Saturday during a demonstration to voice their support for same-sex civil union.
“The March for Equality,” as it was known, included politicians, artists and other well-known individuals who are backing legislation in support of gay and lesbian couples.
Photos of the march showed demonstrators carrying rainbow color flags in support of same-sex civil unions, as well as signs saying: “Same-Sex Civil Union Now!!” and “To Love is Not a Crime, or a Sin.”
The debate over same-sex civil union in Peru – which is generally a conservative and highly catholic country – is being led by Carlos Bruce, an opposition lawmaker who plans to present legislation to Congress.
Some members of President Ollanta Humala’s party, including Congressman Sergio Tejada, and prominent municipal politicians like Lima’s Mayor Susana Villaran, have come out in support of same-sex civil union.
Nobel Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa, a strong libertarian, has been one of the most prominent defenders of the legislation.
The initiative has also faced opposition, especially from leadership within Peru’s powerful Catholic Church. Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, who is the archbishop of Lima, is a leading opponent of the legislation and has called for a referendum on the issue.
Lawmaker Bruce has said that he has received death threats over the issue. One of the authors behind the threats is a retired Army colonel named Carlos Cuadros, who reportedly wrote on his Facebook page that Bruce “now has hours before death.” Cuadros later said he was sorry for the comment.