An evangelical preacher in Ecuador who ran for president earlier this year has been sentenced after he was found guilty of violating the country’s electoral code by speaking against homosexual behavior.
Nelson Zavala has been fined for more than $3,000 and banned from running for office or being involved with any political party for one year because of his speech, which reportedly occurred in February.
Zavala is being penalized for comments that he made while on the campaign trial in regard to the nation’s legalization of homosexual “marriage,” which he opposed. He had allegedly stated that he believes homosexual behavior is “immoral” and that it is a “severe deviation of conduct.” Zavala had also remarked on several occasions that homosexuals were sinners.
Following his statements, a number of homosexual groups complained to the electoral court, and Zavala was required to appear for a hearing.
In analyzing the matter, Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno ruled that Zavala’s speech violated the country’s electoral code, which “forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people’s dignity or utilize symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature.” She then handed down the sentence, barring the preacher from participating in politics for an entire year.
Homosexuals in Ecuador cheered Zavala’s punishment, declaring that the sentencing was a “milestone” for their cause.
However, the former political candidate decried Mancheno’s ruling, which he said was contrary to the law of God.
“On what they judge me, they will be judged. They don’t have interference in heaven,” he said boldly. “One day God will judge everything, and be prepared to explain to God why you called evil good, and good evil.”
He plans to appeal the sentence.
Zavala’s sentence comes just weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a guilty verdict against a pro-family activist in the nation, who had distributed flyers over a decade ago to express his concerns about a homosexual pride parade in his city, as well as homosexuality being taught in schools. As previously reported, William Whatcott was convicted of a hate crime for expressing sentiments that targeted a certain people group.
“The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” stated one flyer that was found to be in violation, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9. “Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”
Whatcott was also convicted of hate speech for using the word “sodomites” and speaking against “two men sodomizing each other,” among other phrases.