By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  QUITO, March 31, 2008 ( – Ecuador’s president and ruling party have announced that they are opposed to mentioning God in the nation’s new constitution, and have called into question the “inviolability of life” as it is phrased in the existing constitution.

  The current constitution explicitly “invokes the protection of God” but according to the socialist PAIS Alliance, which currently dominates national politics in the country, it will not be included in the new constitution, which is being created in a special “constituent assembly”.

  A national group of evangelical protestant churches has begun a massive petition drive to request that the Constituent Assembly maintain the reference to God and the right to life guarantee in the constitution.  So far it has collected 100,000 signatures and says that it plans to collect a total of two million (see LifeSiteNews coverage at

  Although President Rafael Correa has stated that he wants the constitution to “guarantee the right to life from gestation, from fertilization”, he has expressly stated his desire to remove the name of God from the new document.

“As a citizen of a secular government, I sincerely believe that the name of God should not be in the Constitution because it is necessary to also respect those who don’t believe in God.  ‘Secular Government’ does not mean the rejection of religion.  It means that it accepts all religions, but it also accepts atheists,” said Correa to a crowd of demonstrators recently.

  The Constituent Assembly’s vice president, Fernando Cordero, also a member of the PAIS Alliance, echoes Correa’s view.  He also agrees with Correa’s oft-repeated endorsement of homosexual unions.

  Cordero claims that there are no plans for including homosexual marriage explicitly in the constitution, but makes it clear that he wants the document to implicitly allow it.  “What we want to do is to make known to the whole country that, whether we like it or not, in Ecuador and in the whole world there are people of the same sex who live together, and who end up creating a society,” he says, and adds that “rights are for everyone, independently of their sexual preference.”

  Representative Betty Amores, also a PAIS member, has stated that she supports maintaining the “inviolability of life” in the new constitution, but hints that the phrase would leave the door open to abortion, for “public health” reasons, a slogan often used by pro-abortion forces.

“Personally I’m in agreement with maintaining the current constitutional dispositions regarding the right to life.  The topic of abortion is one of public health, and will be debated in that context,” she told the Ecuadoran publication El Comercio.

  The socialist president of the Constituent Assembly and close ally of Correa, Alberto Acosta, tried to dismiss the actions of groups that are fighting to include the recognition of God, the right to life, and the protection of marriage in the new constitution.

“There are certain groups, who are echoed by certain members of the media, who want to make the country see that these are transcendental topics,” said Acosta.  “They are important, but not fundamental.”

  Although the PAIS Alliance has a majority of seats in the Constituent Assembly, divisions have arisen in recent days regarding life and family issues.  The pro-life faction seems to be led by Rosanna Queirolo, a famous model and TV news announcer who has embarked on a political career as a representative in the Assembly.  She is reportedly joined by several others within PAIS, including Rolando Panchana, Valerio Estacio, Iván Rodríguez, Édison Narváez, and Diana Acosta.

  Queirolo recently participated in the delivery of 100,000 signatures demanding that the new constitution prohibit abortion, and participated in a recent pro-life march with fellow representative Diana Acosta.   In response, Amores has demanded that they resign from the Constituent Assembly.

  However, Queirolo is defiant.  Not only will she not resign, she says, but she intends to “fight” for the right to life.  According to El Comercio, she claims to have 50 signatures of support from other representatives in the 130 member Constituent Assembly, and says “if we lose, we will go out to win in the streets.”

  Previous coverage:

  Ecuador Churches Submit 100,000 Signatures to Prevent Constitutional Recognition of Abortion

  Ecuadoran President Denies Plan to Legalize Abortion

  Ecuadorans Battle Over Abortion in their New Constitution