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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:13 pm 
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Ecuador closes thirty former 'gay conversion' clinics
by Peter Lloyd
13 September 2011

The Republic of Ecuador has reportedly closed down thirty clinics which practiced so-called 'gay conversion' therapy.

The number is impressive, considering the crackdown only started in January this year after allegations of torture and abuse by several former patients.

According to the Box Turtle Bulletin, one client, Paula Ziritt, said she was held for two years at one such facility in Guayaqui — the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador — which included three months in handcuffs while guards threw urine and iced water on her. Estimates predict that there could be up to 200 such clinics, with many posing as schools or English Language centres. The site also report that local authorities say six of the clinics were linked to evangelical movements.

One health director, Eva Cevallos, told them: "Obviously you can not cure homosexuality. These therapies involve malpractice and are unauthorized. They cause depressive disorders, self-destructive behavior, anxiety and may lead to committing suicide."

Source: PinkPaper.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Ecuador’s new lesbian health minister to close ‘gay cure clinics’
by Joseph McCormick
24 January 2012

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Carina Vance Mafla during a press conference

The appointment of a lesbian politician as Ecuador’s new health minister has caused a stir this week, as she announced a campaign to shut down religious ‘lesbian cure’ clinics.

Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, announced the appointment of Carina Vance Mafla, who is openly gay, as the newest member of his cabinet. The American-born activist hit the ground running, with an announcement that the health ministry will be working closely with lesbian rights group Fundacion Causana, and other civil rights groups, to shut down the remaining religious clinics which promise to ‘cure’ lesbians.

Vance has been heavily involved in campaigning towards equal rights, and was previously the Executive Director of Fundacion Causana. In the past, she called for reforms of the country’s health system, specifically for the closure of the ‘gay cure’ religious clinics, the regulation of HIV treatment distribution, and to put an end to LGBT discrimination within the health system.

A petition run by Change.org calling for the closure of such clinics raised 113,761 signatures, and is being welcomed as a victory. A similar petition on Allout.org currently has 64,650. The petitions had praised the government for the closure of over 30 clinics, but called for an end to the institutions, which ex-patients reported tortured and abused lesbians both physically and psychologically.

Fundacion Causana, based in Quito, Ecuador, released a statement on the success of the campaign: “After ten years of outcry, the nation of Ecuador - through the Ministry of Public Health - has entered into a commitment with civic organizations and society in general to deconstruct the belief that homosexuality is an illness and root our the use of torture in these clinics.”

This announcement has also meant further praise for the president Correa, who has been complimented for supporting a pro-LGBT constitution. The previous health minister, David Chiriboga, resigned this month after failing to reform Ecuador’s failing health service.

Source: PinKNews.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:14 pm 
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One baby, two moms equals controversy in Ecuador
30 May 2012

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Nicola Rothon (left) and Helen Bicknell leave the Supreme Court of Quito with their daughter Satya on May 4.

AFP - Ecuador's constitution extols "families of diverse types," but this conservative, Catholic society is struggling to figure out how children raised by parents of the same sex fit that lofty ideal.

A British lesbian couple have sparked controversy at a time when attitudes about same-sex couples are changing in other countries, including nearby Argentina, the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage.

Ecuadorians have been closely following the case of Nicola Rothon and Helen Bicknell, each of whom is claiming the right to call herself the mother of their newborn. After their daughter Satya Amani was born in December of last year, the longtime couple tried to register their joint maternity with local authorities, but were denied.

The women, both 34, then filed a claim alleging discrimination and demanding that state prosecutors protect their constitutional rights, but were turned down. "The constitution protects us, but there is a loophole and that needs to be fixed. It will not be easy," Rothon told reporters recently. "It's always the case that when you're the first ones, you've got to fight to change the laws," added Bicknell who, with her partner, makes a living teaching English and raising organic produce on the outskirts of Quito.

Rothon said she worries that if she were to die, the government might keep her daughter, since her partner has no biological tie to the infant. "If something happens to me, does she go to an orphanage?" she said.

The women were considering taking the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an arm of the Organization of American States (OAS). They met met 16 years ago in Kenya, where they worked as volunteers. They entered into a civil union in Britain in 2010 and tied the knot at a ceremony in Ecuador the following year. Their baby was conceived with semen donated by a mutual friend, but although parenthood was entered into as a joint endeavor only Rothon, who carried the child to term, is seen as the child's parent.

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Nicola Rothon (left) and Helen Bicknell (in brown jumper) celebrate with activists of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community outside the Supreme Court in Quito on May 4.

The case has sparked controversy in Ecuador, an avowedly secular country with an 80 percent Catholic population. The Catholic Church here has kept a low profile in the dispute, but is emphatic in embracing only heterosexual marriage. "There is only one mother," said Antonio Arregui, president of the conference of bishops. The view of most Ecuadorians, he said, is that "a normal family is father, mother and children."

Isabel Salazar, 42, a member of a group that rejects gay marriage and abortion, disputes Bicknell and Rothon's claims to parenthood. "We respect gays and lesbians, but they are a marginal group," she told AFP. She added that child raising is a task that required the "complementarity of a male and female parent."

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Nicola Rothon (left) and Helen Bicknell at the Supreme Court of Quito on May 4.

But the couple also has supporters, including Sarahi Maldonado, 20, who is an activist with a group defending the rights of Ecuador's "sexual minorities," including gays and lesbians. Maldonado said the state promotes homophobia and archaic ideas about family. "It is outrageous to believe that you can't have a family in which no man is present," she said. "In daily life we see so many cases of men who do not acknowledge paternity, and nobody talks about the impact of abortions or broken families," she said, decrying what she said was a "clear double standard."

Bicknell said she agreed with the conventional view here that two parents are better than one, but rejected the idea that the couple has to be of two sexes. "For any child, it's best if two people love him and want to give him the best," she said.

Source: France24.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:25 pm 
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Ecuador shocked by inhumane practices at gay conversion clinics
27 July 2013

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Ecuadorean activists protest against homophobia and sexual discrimination in Quito on May 17, 2005.

AFP - Sent to a center offering to "cure" her attraction to women, Denisse Freire was raped and tortured -- in a practice Ecuadoran authorities admit has been tolerated for too long.

The country of 15.8 million people has at least 80 unlicensed drug and alcohol rehab clinics, many that are also used for anti-gay conversion therapy, Health Minister Carina Vance, who is openly gay, said. Two people, admitted for addiction issues, died last year at the clandestine centers, she told foreign reporters at a press conference, adding that authorities have begun to crack down. At these centers, "we have reports of physical attacks, the use of ice water on inmates," Vance said. "We have lesbians who have reported what the clinics called 'sex therapy,' but which consists of being raped by men," the minister said.

Freire, now 25, was just 15 when her mother discovered her in her room with a female schoolmate. Outraged, she sent her daughter to a "Christian camp" in a remote area in southeastern Ecuador. There, Freire said, "they tortured me with electric shocks, didn't let me bathe for three days, gave me almost nothing to eat, hit me a lot, hung me by my feet. They told me it was for my own good." There were also sexual punishments, all aimed at ridding the young girl of her homosexuality. The center was nominally a evangelical Christian rehabilitation clinic for drug and alcohol addiction. But Freire said she was there with four other young people -- all because they were gay. After two months, Freire escaped.

Her case was not an isolated one. Authorities say the inhumane practice is a wide-ranging problem that has ensnared even government officials -- such as the health ministry official who was recently the subject of a criminal complaint after it emerged she owned a clandestine clinic offering therapy against homosexuality.

"We are talking here about a mafia, a network that operates nationally in each of the provinces, which are violating human rights," Health Minister Vance said. Since March 2012, authorities have closed 18 rehab clinics: 15 for human rights violations and three for violations of health standards, the ministry said.

Still, more clinics remain. In June, Zulema Constante, a 22-year-old psychology student, escaped a clinic in the eastern city of Tena, where she said her family had forcibly admitted her to cure her of homosexuality. She was handcuffed and locked in a straightjacket. "I had to pray, they gave me food poisoning, forced me to clean toilets with my hands, and told me I was wrong to be a lesbian," she told reporters. The clinic is owned by a health official in the region.

Constante's girlfriend, Cynthia Rodriguez, launched a social media campaign to report the case, building public pressure that allowed her to be set free after three weeks. But activists say too many complaints are unsuccessful. "Why?" asks Leah Burbano of the Lesbian Women and Woman Movement. Because the people forcing the victims into the clinics "are family and that creates an emotional weight. But this is not a struggle between parents and children. It's a struggle against these clinics."

Ecuadoran law authorizes forced treatment for addicts with approval from a judge. But health minister Vance emphasized in no case is the forced treatment allowed to seek to "cure" homosexuality.

Source: France24.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Nothing like those good catholic inquisitorial traditions and techniques they learned from their Spanish ancestors, I guess. Nothing like a bit of torture to drive out the devil, right? And if people die in the process of being 'cured' I guess it was what god wanted. No amount of blood and pain is sufficient for the christian god.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:18 pm 
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Cops raid ‘gay addiction’ torture clinic, free 17 captives
8 November 2013
By Joe Morgan

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David Romo, believed to be a gay 22-year-old student, is still missing as police raid addiction clinics.

Seventeen captives were freed from a ‘gay addiction’ torture clinic in Ecuador yesterday (7 November).

The patients, including a 15-year-old, were found barely living in inhumane conditions with some reporting they were being electrocuted to ‘cure them’.

Authorities arrested seven people following a dawn raid on the Union and Hope Clinic in Pisuli, north of Quito, a clinic that claimed to treat drug and alcohol problems. ‘These people were being held against their will, overcrowded, in degrading, unhealthy conditions. They were sleeping on the floor. They had no sewer system,’ a justice official said, AFP reports.

A victim has claimed she was forced to take off her shoes on a floor where there was a pool of dirty water rigged with an electrical charge. The justice official confirmed the minor was being held prisoner at the ‘addiction clinic’ to cure him of a ‘behavioral problem’. The 17 captives were taken to hospital for recovery.

Earlier this year, Health Minister Carina Vance Mafla revealed how gay, lesbian and bisexual people were being given electric shocks, beaten and even raped to ‘cure’ their sexuality in Ecuador. More than 80 unlicensed clinics in the South American Country were reporting using these techniques, with at least two dying from the ‘treatments’. Authorities discovered the unlicensed clinic on the hunt for 22-year-old student David Romo, also believed to be gay, who disappeared on 16 May. Police suspect he was held at the Union and Hope Clinic before he was moved on.

Since March 2012, 18 centres for addiction treatment have been closed — 15 for human rights violations and three for health violations.

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Source: GayStarNews.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Gay couple fights back after Ecuador refuses marriage application
2 December 2013
By Jean Paul Zapata

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Santiago Vinces, 23, and Fernando Saltos, 27. Photo via: Twitter.

A rejection from the government will not stop this gay Ecuadorian couple from obtaining a marriage certificate.

Santiago Vinces, 23, and Fernando Saltos, 27, submitted their marriage application on 26 November anticipating the government would reject them. The couple said last week they would file a counter-suit and take their case to the Inter-American Court for Human Rights should the government not move their marriage application forward.

While Ecuador allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, same-sex marriages are still illegal. Article 67 in the Constitution and Article 81 of the Civil Code both define marriage as between a man and a woman. In the official statement released 29 November, the governmental entity responsible for filing the gay couple’s application said: ‘In order to continue with the process, the applicants prior to the celebration of a civil matrimony must fulfill the requirements established by the Constitution.’

Prior to submitting their marriage application to the Civil Registry last week, the couple walked hand-in-hand through several streets in Guayaquil, followed by a procession of friends, attorneys and supports. According to local news outlets, they are the second known same-sex couple to apply for a marriage certificate in Ecuador. Pamela Troya y Gabriela Correa applied for a marriage certificate and were rejected on 5 August in Quito.

Source: GayStarNews.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:13 pm 
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Ecuador to grant same-sex unions ID recognition
August 23, 2014

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Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa speaks in Guatemala City on August 19, 2014 (AFP Photo/Johan Ordonez)

Quito (AFP) - President Rafael Correa said Saturday that people in same-sex civil unions now can include their status on national ID cards in Ecuador, where gay marriage is illegal.

"Gays, lesbians, transgender and transsexual people have the full constitutional right to include their civil union on their ID cards," said Correa, a leftist and economist by training. Until now, only heterosexual marriages could be listed on the identification document. "If there was any doubt about heterosexual or same-sex civil unions being put on national ID cards, there is none any more," said the president, who stressed it did not mean same-sex marriage was legal. I have never offered to support" same-sex marriage in mostly Roman Catholic Ecuador, as gay rights groups have sought, said Correa, a Catholic himself.

The South American country's constitution currently says marriage is only between a man and a woman, and that only heterosexual couples may adopt.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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