The director of the Population Research Institute’s Office for Latin America, Carlos Polo, attended the hearing held July 5 in Lima. Polo explained to CNA that the moderator of the meeting, Silvia Loli, told those opposed to the gay ordinance, “If you do not give an opinion about the text that has been presented, you will have to live with it as it is.”
The ordinance sponsored by city council member Manuel Cardenas aims “to promote gender equality and prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Critics of the proposal say it would violate the religious freedom of 80 percent of the Peruvian capital.
The ordinance would force the residents of Lima to accept “public displays of homosexual affection in businesses or areas open to the general public,” including schools. The July 5 hearing was billed as a forum and a neutral debate for residents of the capital city to provide their feedback on the proposal.
However, Carlos Polo said, “What Silvia Loli did was very different. She said from the outset the purpose of the hearing was to receive input on the draft of the ordinance, and she warned us to only address it in that sense.”
Upon opening the floor for comments, “She gave special treatment to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) activists, who were allowed to speak more than once. When there began to be criticism of the ordinance, she fired off the threat (mentioned above), giving the impression that she did not need us there because the ordinance would be approved anyway.”
Polo said some of those who spoke against the ordinance were “verbally assaulted by gay activists.”
“A number of us had to raise our voices to demand order because neither moderator nor the city council members did anything about it. It seems they were bent on receiving ‘feedback” and ‘carrying out procedure’,” he said.
During the hearing, city council member Marco Zevallos told residents, “We do not legislate based on whatever we happen to think of. We legislate based on the fact that the people voted to put us here. It’s not the other way around. In any case, there are recall measures that apply not only to the mayor but to all city council members.”
Polo said Zevallos comments demonstrated “the level of intolerance and arrogance that characterize not only Lima city council members, but also Mayor (Susana) Villaran.”
Speaking on Peruvian radio, Polo said the ordinance would impose an ideology on the city that not everyone agrees with. He called it “ridiculous” to pass something at the city level that has already been rejected in the legislature and that opposition to the ordinance has nothing to do with discrimination or intolerance.
“We are not talking about intolerance, we are talking about promoting something that only certain groups believe in,” Polo said, adding that Mayor Villaran should focus her attention instead on fulfilling “the campaign promises she has not kept.”
A campaign to gather signatures against the ordinance is currently underway and can be viewed at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/contraordenanzadeideologiagay
.- Pro-family leaders in Peru have criticized a public hearing held by Lima city officials to discuss an ordinance that would promote the homosexual movement in the city.