The Supreme Court of Costa Rica on Thursday found the country’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and discriminatory.
This decision follows opinion [text, PDF, in Spanish] given just seven months ago by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [official website] that same-sex couples have the same rights to marry as any opposite-sex couple.< The decision is a significant one for Costa Rica, a country where not only are the majority of people Catholic, but also where a high number of lawmakers who sit on the legislative assembly are evangelicals who openly oppose same-sex marriage. These lawmakers are a stark contrast to President Carlos Alvarado [profile], who won April’s presidential run-off on a platform vowing to defend same-sex rights. Alvarado beat out opponent, Fabricio Alvarado [profile], an evangelical pastor who vowed to defy the Human Rights Court’s rulings on same-sex rights.
As a result of the ruling, lawmakers will have 18 months to adjust the current law or else the ban will cease to exist and same-sex marriage will automatically become legal.
It was in May 2006 that Costa Rica’s Supreme court voted 5-2 to uphold the law forbidding same-sex marriage, finding that the law was constitutional.