By Tuesday, May 26, marriage equality will officially be legal in Costa Rica. In comparison to many neighboring countries, Costa Rica has seen significant advances in LGBTQ rights and has Central America’s only LGBT chamber of commerce.
This legalization comes after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in January 2018 that all of its signatory countries must adhere to marriage equality if they are not currently doing so.
As Central America is predominantly Catholic, this has not been an easy law to implement across the area, and the journey for Costa Rica has seen many obstacles. Although in November 2018 the Costa Rican Supreme Court gave the country 18 months to fulfill that obligation, conservative legislators resisted it.
This week, a last-ditch effort to delay implementation of marriage equality was rejected. Conservative deputies had argued that, due to COVID-19, the nation needed a minimum of 18 months after the pandemic ends before the first same-sex in-person nuptials can commence. The country’s Legislative Assembly disagreed with the motion, by 33 votes to 20.
After the final block was removed, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada stated that he wants the nation to set an example for the rest of Central America, proclaiming in a tweet this week, “It’s now just a matter of time. Full equal rights will come, love will prevail.”
Celebrations of this monumental milestone will, of course, have to adhere to current social distancing rules. But no doubt this historic moment will bring some hope of equality to the LGBTQ community in the nation and across Central America.