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More than 1,000 people in Haiti protest against legalizing same-sex marriage

A protester’s sign condemns gay relationships at rally in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Friday.
A protester’s sign condemns gay relationships at rally in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Friday.(Dieu Nalio Chery/Associated Press)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — More than 1,000 people in Haiti participated Friday in a rare street demonstration to protest homosexuality and a proposal to legalize gay marriage in the Caribbean nation.

The protest brought together religious groups, from Protestant to Muslim, who carried antigay placards and chanted songs, including one in which they threatened to burn down parliament if its members make same-sex marriage legal.

A Haitian gay rights group has said it plans to submit a plan allowing gays to wed.

‘‘I believe in God, and God condemns homosexuality,’’ said protester Eddy Jean-Pierre, a self-described Protestant. ‘‘Haiti is not going to accept this, and God will punish us further if we allow this law to pass.’’

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The rally organized by several religious groups, including one called the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations, came two days after watchdog groups held a news conference to condemn what they say is a rise in threats against homosexuals.

Haiti’s gay and lesbian community is small and has long kept a low-profile because of a strong social stigma that sparks fears of physical violence and loss of employment.

Rights groups in Haiti say that members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community do not report rights violations to authorities out of fear of reprisal. Those people also have suffered overt discrimination from law enforcement and judicial authorities, particularly in Port-au-Prince, the US State Department said in a 2012 report on human rights in Haiti.

Associated Press