In support to Venezuelan organizations against discrimination

US-based organizations in solidarity with Venezuela, support the Law for Gender Equality and the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation., July 17, 2009.- In recent days, after the Venezuelan Catholic Church Hierarchy's controversial statement against the discussion of the second draft of the Organic Law of Gender Equality at the National Assembly, and within the framework of the worldwide celebration of the Gay Pride Month, an important number of progressive activists and organizations that fight in the United States against discrimination, congratulated the Venezuelan people and government for their brave decision of taking steps to eliminate discrimination against women and segregated minorities based on their sexual orientation.

The International Action Center, funded by the former US General Attorney Ramsey Clark, the National Lawyers Guild and the Gay Liberation Network, published on their websites or forwarded to ours, letters directed to the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, congratulating the progressive decision of discussing this Law, which they see as a strong symbol of the values of  justice and equity that are part of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution.

This international support in favor of the approval of the Law and against the Catholic Church Hierarchy statement complemented the position of Venezuelan organizations in recent days, such as the United Socialist Front of Homosexual Liberation (Bloque Socialista Unido de Liberacion Homosexual), part of the United Venezuelan United Socialist Party, Zulian Action for Life (Accion Zuliana por la vida), A Free Country for my Children Foundation (Fundacion un Pais Libre para mis hijos), Margarita University Center for Human Rights  (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Margarita), StopVIH Organization (Organizacion StopVIH), Diverse Venezuela (Venezuela Diversa, AC), Affirmative Action (Union Afirmativa), Diverse Venezuela Zulia Chapter (Venezuela Diversa Capitulo Zulia), Reflections of Venezuela Foundation (Fundacion Reflejos de Venezuela), HR Women's Observatory (Observatorio DDHH de las Mujeres), the Josefa Camejo Lesbian Women Collective (Colectivo de Mujeres Lesbianas Josefa Camejo), among others.

The US organizations also congratulated and thanked the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry for their gesture of solidarity with the sexual minorities in the US, reflected by the participation of the Consulate of Venezuela in Chicago in the Gay Pride Parade held in that city last June, with the participation of more than 400.000 people, including representatives of the Office of the Mayor of Chicago, the Illinois Governor, Universities, Unions and Human Rights organizations.

"We in the Gay Liberation Network do not share the hostility of  some politicians against the Venezuelan Government," says a letter from the Gay Liberation Network, sent after the recent participation of the personnel of the Venezuelan Consulate in Chicago in the Gay Pride Parade.

Activists for sexual minorities rights in the US, participate on a regular basis in activities of solidarity with the Venezuelan Revolution and acknowledge the the fact that the Venezuelan government is matching words with action.

The first draft of the Venezuelan Law for Gender Equality was approved in its first discussion at the National Assembly and has been strongly opposed by Venezuelan right-wing conservatives, such as the Catholic Church, which released a statement against the possibility of putting an end to the discrimination against some Venezuelans based in their sexual orientation and against the right of women to make decisions about their bodies, including abortion.

Unfortunately, since its first draft, the Law has been modified, eliminating some of the most progressive articles, maybe as a response to the pressure of some right-wing groups, and some lawmakers which, while being supportive of the Bolivarian Revolution, also support some conservative views influenced by the religious conservatism.

There are already 67 countries worldwide that recognize gay rights by law, among them Spain and Mexico, countries where the Catholic Church traditionally had had a strong influence.

After 10 years of Bolivarian Revolution, many Socialists hope that finally Venezuela can take the steps to make illegal this type of discrimination, as the Bolshevists did after the 1917 Revolution, in which they abolished the laws that criminalized homosexuals, legalized abortion and made it free and safe. It wasn't after Joseph Stalin had consolidated himself in power, that all these rights were taken away from the Soviet working class.