Updated: Saturday, 01 February 2014 05:05 | By Agence France-Presse

Venezuela activists petition for same-sex marriage

Some 300 gay rights activists gathered -- holding hands, kissing and waving rainbow flags -- in front of Venezuela's parliament Friday to present a petition for same-sex marriage.

Venezuela activists petition for same-sex marriage

Members of LGBT organizations demonstrate in front of the National Assembly in Caracas on January 31, 2014 - by Juan Barreto

The proposal -- the latest after a half dozen previous attempts failed -- aims to revise the legal definition of marriage as "the union of two people, regardless of sex," Venezuela Equal president Giovanni Piermattei told AFP.

"We have more than 21,000 signatures in support of the initiative," Piermattei said as he continued to collect names, adding they come from 47 organizations across the political spectrum.

"We have fulfilled the constitutional requirements" for requesting legal reforms, he said, declaring himself "very optimistic" for the reform.

Also present at the event were four lawmakers and two governors from the ruling party, as well as two members of the government and the ombudsman.

But the law faces an uphill battle in Venezuela, where politicians use "gay" as an insult against opponents.

Gay rights activist Cesar Sequera, who says he is an Anglican priest, said he hopes the proposal will "at least be given serious debate." 

But he noted that President Nicolas Maduro, himself, has twice used homophobic slurs to discredit his opponents.

He later apologized, said Sequera, "but I think that was not strong. I see fear and resistance in him."

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