First comes marriage? A Paraguayan view.

In many countries’ LGBT movements, there is a debate about whether advocating gay marriage could way down other priorities, from protections against hate crimes to non-discrimination laws. Asking for too much too fast can provoke a backlash, they worry.

But the executive director of the Paraguayan group SOMOSGAY, Simón Cazal, tells me the movement has had marriage on its agenda from the beginning. And they view it as a way to move forward all their goals. This is partly because the movement in Paraguay–which is sandwiched between Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia–is very new. It came together after marriage had become a mainstream idea in the global movement. It’s also been heavily influenced by Paraguay’s close ties to Argentina and its proximity to Brazil.

Cazal told me:

Paraguay’s movement is vey young. It came together in the last 10 years, in the decade since 2000. So it’s always shared much of the Argentine and Brazilian agenda in various ways…. The subject of recognition for [same-sex] couples was on the agenda practically since the start of the [Paraguayan] movement…. Marriage in this strategy is only one part. It’s a tool that is used to open the discussions…. When one raises the marriage issue, out come all the other discussions that you want to open up–whether gays and lesbians are sick…or all types of prejudices.

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