Dominican Republic Rejects Changes to Marriage Law

Affirms Statement Against Same-Sex Unions

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, JUNE 11, 2009 ( The Dominican Republic Congress approved a statement defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

On Wednesday members of review assembly working on constitutional reform affirmed this definition, and also rejected a proposal to amend the Constitution in a way that would civilly recognize marriages performed in all of the churches located in the country.

The Catholic Church, however, retains the power to celebrate marriages as granted by the state in the signing of a Concordat in 1954.

Today, the Listin Diario reported that this proposal was part of several family-related items under review by the special committee of the assembly.

A total of 108 assembly members voted, with 106 in favor of the deletion of the proposal’s statement: «Religious marriages will have civil effects in the terms established by law.»

The assembly approved a statement that marriage can only take place between a man and a woman, and closes the possibility to same-sex unions.

The lawmakers also recognized that wives who are in a unique and stable marriage, and children that are a fruit of this union, may inherit property. The proposal states that a man and a woman, «free of impediments to marriage, by forming a home actually create rights and duties in their personal and property relations in accordance with the law.»

The committee agreed that men and women enjoy equal rights and duties in building a home, and that the good of the family is inalienable and indefeasible in accordance with the law.

Father Manuel Ruiz, a priest who was in the stands watching the vote, explained that this was not a triumph of the Catholic Church over other churches. He noted that it would have been good for the article to mention the Concordat signed in Rome between the state and the Catholic Church.

The country’s population is 89% Catholic.

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