Panama LGBT Laws

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couple is lawful at age 18 years [R1.1].

R1.1 Interpol: Sexual offences against children Spring 06
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

As at December 2009, Article 19 of the Panama Constitution prohibits privilege or discrimination based on race, birth, disability, social class, sex, religion or political ideas, but does not include sexual orientation or gender identity [R1.1].

R1.1 IGLHRC: Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 23 DEC 09
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
1. National

In 1975, legislation was passed which reportedly recognised the gender reassignment of transsexuals in Panama [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 700.06kb, MAY 09
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1. National

In August 2008, President Martin Torrijos Espino decriminalised gay sex in Panama [R1.2.

(Presidential Decree No. 332, Official Gazette of 31 July 2008, repealing article 12 of Decree 149 of 1949 [R1.1]).


In 1949 the law made gay sex an offence incurring a $500 (£266) fine or a prison sentence [R1.2].

R1.2 Gay Sex Becomes Legal in Panama 14 AUG 08
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 700.06kb, MAY 09
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Article 26 of the Family Code currently defines marriage as a ‘voluntary union between man and woman, who come together to make and share a life’ [R2.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 15 February 2018, Supreme Court Justice Luis Ramón Fábrega, who in October 2017 drafted a ruling against marriage rights for same-sex couples, reportedly has withdrawn it [R2.2].

On 23 October 2017, Supreme Court Justice Luis Ramón Fábrega was reported to have ruled that the country’s family code that prevents same-sex couples from marrying is not unconstitutional though writing that ‘Equality must be constitutionally guaranteed via the law … It is incumbent upon the Assembly to pass the necessary laws to comply with the purposes and the exercise of the state’s duties as outlined under the constitution’ [R2.1].

R2.2 WashingtonBlade: Panama Supreme Court judge withdraws draft ruling against marriage 16 FEB 18
R2.1 GayStarNews: Panama judge rules against same-sex marriage 23 OCT 17