Bolivians will vote on a new
constitution Sunday that grants rights to gays and lesbians in the
country while defining marriage as a heterosexual union.
The Bolivian constitution already bans
gay marriage. In 2007, lawmakers added the provision to the
The vote replaces the current 1967
charter and gives leftist President Evo Morales the right to run for
a second five-year term. It would also give greater voice to the
indigenous people who make up the majority of the country and grants
the central government greater power.
“Once approved, this will be the
refoundation of Bolivia and the refoundation of a new state where
there will be equality and we will all have the same rights and the
same obligations,” Morales said at a rally in the country's
capital, La Paz.
The document is being decried by
churches that see it as opening the door for gay marriage. There are
neither laws against being gay, nor laws protecting gays and lesbians
in the South American country.
However, the new constitution would
prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, while defining
marriage as a union “between a man and a woman.”
The new text no longer specifies Roman
Catholicism as the sole state religion and outlines broad new rights
for Bolivia's Indians.
Indigenous people, who make up the
majority of the 9 million people living in the landlocked country and
view Morales as an indigenous hero, are expected to favor the new