Former Ecuadorean Presidential Candidate Nelson Zavala Receives Fine, Political Rights Suspension for Anti-Gay Remarks

Former Ecuadorean presidential candidate and evangelical pastor Nelson Zavala had his political rights suspended for a year and was fined more than $3,000 by an electoral court for making anti-gay remarks during his campaign, the BBC reports:

ZavalaAn electoral court sentenced him for saying gays were "immoral" and suffered from "severe deviation of conduct" during the February election campaign. Lawyers for Mr Zavala, an evangelical preacher who says he can "cure" gay people, said he would appeal.

The candidate came last out of eight candidates with 1.23% of the votes. President Rafael Correa was re-elected for a third term with nearly 60% of the vote.

The ruling bars Mr Zavala from standing as a candidate, affiliating himself or being involved with a political party or movement.

The BBC add:

Gays and lesbian activists applauded the decision, which was called a "milestone".

Mr Zavala's comments in February were denounced to the electoral authorities by a number of groups.

Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno found Mr Zavala violated the electoral code, which "forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people's dignity or utilise symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature."