Social organizations in Ecuador have called for a sit-in to prevent violence against women and LGBTI's, amid an offensive by right-wing and religious sectors who oppose a new protective legislation.
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The organizers of the sit-in say that there's an urgent need for law reform since in Ecuador a woman is violently killed every 53 hours, adding that this affects trans women and members of the LGBTI community as well. The life expectancy of a trans person in Ecuador is below 35 years old.
The controversy began over a new project called the Organic Law for the Prevention and Eradication of Gender Violence against Women, which has yet to be debated by national assembly.
Still, conservative groups say this law includes terms such as "gender identity," "gender approach," or "gender diversity," which they oppose. The National Front for the Family with the support of religious groups in the country marched on Saturday to criticize the law, claiming it would endanger children.
Human rights activists criticized the marches, saying they were a manifestation of hate and part of a disinformation campaign that seeks to delegitimize rights advances in Ecuador.
The right-wing groups allege the law would impose an education based on "gender ideology" and would take away the family's right to raise their children "in the moral values of the Catholic church" in a catholic-dominated country.
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Monica Aleman, president of the legislative commission discussing the law, said it doesn't include anything on education curriculum, abortion or a "new definition of family."
There's currently a lawsuit against the Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Guayaquil, as well as evangelical leaders for "legitimizing a march with hate speech that creates a hostile environment" filed by LGBTI groups.
The Ecuadorean Ombudsman's Office said that the statements of these groups promote stereotypes in relation to the definition of a natural family that determines there's only one "unique and acceptable model."
The women's and LGBTI groups said the so-called pro-family groups use "insults, denigrating phrases, threats," and incite violence and discrimination on social media.
Ecuador's constitution recognizes the family in its various forms and states that it will protect the fundamental core of society, as it is "constituted by "legal or de facto ties" and based on equal rights and opportunities.