LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s Congress on Friday voted to host the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly, after outrage over the legislature’s initial decision not to approve the summit because of requirements to provide gender neutral bathrooms.
Peru’s Congress, controlled by socially conservative parties, on Thursday firstrejected the government’s request to host the regional body’s assembly in October over the requisite.
On Twitter, lawmaker Ernesto Bustamante, the head of Congress’s foreign relations committee, said the OAS had “attempted to introduce … gender ideology” into Peruvian law.
Peru, a deeply Catholic country, is among Latin America’s most socially conservative nations, with years of infighting among lawmakers and activists over whether the state should recognize multiple gender identities or only biological sex.
Government offices in Peru do not normally offer gender neutral bathrooms.
The OAS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The theme for this year’s Assembly is “Together against inequality and discrimination.”
Foreign Minister Cesar Landa said on Twitter that Congress’ decision “gravely affects Peru’s international image” and asked that it reconsider its stance.
Luis Almagro, the head of the OAS regional bloc, said on Twitter he agreed with Landa’s position, thanking him for the government’s efforts. He said he “hoped” the summit could still be held in Peru.
The largest congressional bloc, Popular Force, led by former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, voted unanimously to reject the OAS Assembly. Fujimori has previously criticized the OAS over an electoral controversy.
Fujimori lost the 2021 election by just 0.2 percentage points and declined to concede for weeks, putting forward unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud.
At the time, Fujimori allies traveled to Washington to request that the OAS carry out an audit of the results. The OAS, however, declined their request.