Ecuador: #CasoSatya, Homophobia and Freedom of Expression

The topic of human rights and freedom of expression is something that is discussed daily on Ecuador's social networks. Currently, the country finds itself shaken by the “Staya Case”: Nicola Rothon and Helen Bicknell are a lesbian couple from the United Kingdom who legalized their civil union in Ecuador; the Registry Office, however, did not allow both of them to register as the mothers of their daughter, Satya, who was conceived via artificial insemination.

The media made Ecuadorians aware of the situation, but it was on the social networks that different reactions arose regarding homosexuality and the rights of “diverse types” of families, as the Political Constitution of Ecuador dictates. Article 68 of the Magna Carta states that “the stable and monogamous union between two people will generate the same rights and obligations that families constituted by way of marriage have.”

In his post, Italo Sotomayor (@ItaloSotomayor) [es] analyzes Nicola and Helen's situation, touching upon the violation of human rights. His article, “Satya, a case of constitutional extreme-supremacy” [es], in blog Periodismo Ecuador, states that:

el Art. 68, reconoce a las uniones de hecho, y al hacerlo, directamente se muestra de acuerdo a las uniones de personas del mismo sexo, por lo tanto, poseen iguales derechos y obligaciones que tienen las parejas constituidas en matrimonio. Entre esos derechos, existe una presunción de paternidad, que indica, que todas las hijas o hijos producto de esa unión, tendrán como madre y padre a quienes conformen ese hogar de hecho.

Article 68 recognizes civil unions and, upon doing so, directly agrees with same-sex unions, which therefore means that they possess equal rights and obligations as couples constituted in marriage. Among those rights is a presumption of paternity, which indicates that all sons and daughters that are products of that union will have a mother and a father that make up said household.

On the other hand, Father Paulino Toral sent a letter to Vistazo magazine [es], where he vocalizes his complete disagreement with the passage of homosexual unions:

La Ideología de género se ha propuesto el final de la familia natural para lograr la corrupción de los niños y adolescentes. Hay que acabar con la familia – dice esta ideología – porque es en ella donde los niños y los adolescentes captan como algo natural la diferenciación entre varón y mujer.

Flag representing LGBT rights. By Datchler on Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The gender ideology has proposed an end to the natural family in order to corrupt children and adolescents.  We must end families — says this ideology — because it is in the family where children and adolescents learn the difference between man and woman as something natural.

Following Father Toral's letter, another major controversy was generated on Twitter when Miguel Macías published an article in the daily El Comercio with an opinion similar to that of the Father. The reaction of Twitter users was such, that the daily newspaper viewed it as its obligation to delete the article from its online edition, apologizing for the “lack of filters” in their editorials.

Rafael Méndez Meneses (@KevinHurlt) [es] was able to retrieve the editorial text [es] before it was removed by the newspaper, and published it on his blog, with El Comercio's corresponding apologies.

These days, people continue to discuss the limitations to freedom of expression with respect to topics like homosexuality and same-sex rights under the hashtag #casoSatya [es].

Lawyer and Communication Specialist Pablo Garzón (@pgarzon) tweets [es]:

Nosotros, ustedes y yo, somos la primera generación que abiertamente condena
la homofobia en Ecuador. Para nuestros padres fue/es un tabú.

We, you and I, are the first generation that openly condemns homophobia in Ecuador. For our parents it was/is taboo.

Assemblywoman María Paula Romo (@mariapaularomo) says [es]:

No se trata d censura previa pero políticas editoriales claras y defensor del lector deberían ser las grandes lecciones para @elcomerciocom.

It is not about previous censorship, but editorial policies that are clear and defend the reader should be big lessons for @elcomerciocom.

Ecuadorian writer Eduardo Varas (@eduardovarcar), expresses the following [es]:

¿Molesta que @elcomerciocom quitara el famoso artículo? No entiendo. Para mí no hay cómo hablar de libertad de expresión con mentiras.

Does it bother you that @elcomerciocom removed the famous article? I don't understand. For me, there is nothing like discussing freedom of expression with lies.

Lola Cienfuegos (@lolacienfuegos) refers to [es] a “double discourse”:

Con lo sucedido con @elcomerciocom ha quedado demostrado su DOBLE DISCURSO y su DOBLE MORAL.Escribir sobre CÍRCULO ROSA si es tolerado #plop

With everything that's happened with @elcomerciocom, a DOUBLE DISCOURSE and its DOUBLE MORAL have been proven. Writing about the PINK CIRCLE is tolerated #plop

Website also published an article by Xavier Flores Aguirre (@xaflag) [es], where they support Nicola and Helen; in “Satya and diversity” [es] they write:

hoy la resistencia a esas interpretaciones retardatarias del derecho se pueden hacer con las mismas herramientas jurídicas que el derecho establece (en particular en su Constitución, que es su norma jerárquicamente superior).

today, resistance to these retardant interpretations of the law can be made with the same judicial tools that the law establishes (in particular in its Constitution, which is hierarchically its superior norm.)

1 comment

  • […] Ecuador: #CasoSatya, Homophobia and Freedom of Expression English translation by Marianna Breytman (Español aquí): Nicola Rothon and Helen Bicknell are a lesbian couple from the United Kingdom that legalized their union in Ecuador; however, they were not allowed to both register as mothers of Satya, conceived by artificial insemination. Some editorials have generated various opinions on social networks about issues like the limits to freedom of expression and homophobia. – Nicola Rothon y Helen Bicknell, son una pareja de lesbianas del Reino Unido que legalizó su unión en Ecuador; sin embargo, no se les permitió la inscripción como madres de Satya, concebida por inseminación artificial. Algunos artículos de opinión han generado otras opiniones en las redes sociales contra el límite de la libertad de expresión y la homofobia. […]

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