Texas marriage plaintiffs Vic Holmes, left, and partner Mark Phariss, right, hold hands on the steps of the Texas Capitol during a news conference celebrating marriage equality and looking to important work ahead, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

In its ruling, the court said that ‘no matter how many changes happen in reality,’ gay marriages lack ‘conventional and constitutional recognition.’ 

Panama’s Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is not a human right and the country therefore does not have to recognize such unions, according to a judgment published Wednesday, March 1.

The court had been considering the issue since 2016, following several appeals from same-sex couples claiming the Central American country’s family code was unconstitutional as it only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.

There is a reality, and it is that, until now, the right to equal marriage is no more than an aspiration, even though a legitimate one for the groups involved, and it does not fall into the category of a human right or a fundamental right, » said the court, in the ruling dated February 16.

The same-sex couples who filed the suit were attempting to have marriages that took place in other countries be legally recognized in Panama.

The court, however, said, « no matter how many changes happen in reality, » for now gay marriage « lacks conventional and constitutional recognition. »

The Catholic Church, which opposes same-sex marriage, holds significant political influence in Panama.

The Interamerican Court of Human Rights ruled in 2018 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples, in a binding judgment that applied to all of the court’s members, including Panama. Costa Rica remains the only Central American country to recognize same-sex marriages.

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