Costa Rica Becomes First Central American Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

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  • Costa Rica became the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage early Tuesday when a ruling from its supreme court went into effect ending the country’s ban.

    Couples held ceremonies – mostly private due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some that were broadcast – to celebrate their unions before judges and notaries right after the ban was lifted at midnight.

    Daritza Araya and Alexandra Quirós, both women in their 20’s, married just after midnight in an outdoor service performed by a notary wearing a face mask who pronounced them “wife and wife.”

    Costa Rica is the sixth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following most recently Ecuador, which allowed it last year, as it is in some parts of Mexico.

    Family Judge Mauren Solis presided over the marriage of Marco Castillo and Rodrigo Campo on Tuesday, the first one in the country to happen in a court house in front of a judge.

    The issue took center stage in Costa Rica’s 2018 presidential election after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an opinion that countries like Costa Rica, which had signed the American Convention on Human Rights, had to move immediately to legalize gay marriage.

    In August 2018, Costa Rica’s supreme court said the country’s ban was unconstitutional and gave the congress 18 months to correct it or it would happen automatically.

    The Legislative Assembly did not act, so at midnight the law banning same-sex marriage was nullified.

    A campaign celebrating the change called “I do,” planned a series of events including hours of coverage on state television and messages from celebrities, including Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High commissioner for Human Rights.

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