(Photo Credits: MadriCR / CC BY-SA)

Same-sex couples in Costa Rica can legally marry starting this May 26, 2020, Q Costa Rica reports following the statement from Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) senior civil officer Luis Guillermo Chinchilla. Chinchilla assured the general public that “necessary changes have been made” and that the country’s Civil Registry will begin to process same-sex marriage registrations. He said, “The Civil Registry has made significant efforts in adjusting all the computer systems in civil registry matters, with the purpose of managing these registrations in a timely and expeditious manner, always within the framework of suitable and effective registry security as usual by our institution.” 

According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, Costa Rica is the first country in Central America to make same-sex marriage legal.

It can be remembered that Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) required countries signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights on January 9, 2018 to allow same-sex couples to marry. The ruling states that:

The State must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex in accordance with the provisions of Articles 11.2 and 17.1 of the American Convention. (…) in accordance with articles 1.1, 2, 11.2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention, it is necessary to guarantee access to all the existing figures in domestic legal systems, including the right to marry. (..) To ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples, without discrimination with respect to those that are constituted by heterosexual couples.

Reportedly, the landmark gay marriage ruling had “also set binding precedent for 15 other American countries, who have all ratified the Convention and accepted the Court’s jurisdiction.” Meaning that the aforementioned countries namely Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname—are set to follow the decision made by IACHR.

IACHR’s decision had resulted to Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court ruling on August 8, 2018 in favor of the legalization of gay marriage. Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly was given 18 months to reform the law accordingly, or else the ban on same-sex marriage will be “abolished automatically.”

However, over 20 lawmakers are said to have been making efforts to delay the ruling by filing a motion to postpone gay marriage for 18 more months, says Reuters, the reason being that “legislators had not had enough time to review the decision because of other issues, including the novel coronavirus.” Read the full story here and here.

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