Same-Sex Couples in Costa Rica Will Be Able to Marry by 2020

The Supreme Court of Costa Rica has issued a directive to the country’s lawmakers that they must institute marriage equality within the next 18 months.

The nation’s highest court published a 287-page ruling, stating that Costa Rica’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and discriminatory. The decision asserts that marriage equality for same-sex couples must be made legal by May 2020. 

The ruling was only released publicly last week, although it was first issued last August. At that time, Supreme Court judge Fernando Castillo held a press conference and explained that even if the legislature refuses to take action, the ban on same-sex marriage will automatically cease to exist.

The 6-1 decision backed the opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica. The group announced last January that all of its signatory members should legalize same-sex unions. Costa Rican officials declared that they would comply with this ruling, but they seem to have been purposefully delaying any action.

President Carlos Alvarado Quesada tweeted:

It’s now just a matter of time, Full equal rights will come, love will prevail. [The court’s ruling,] which confirms the unconstitutionality of the articles that prohibit equal civil marriage, is a big step forward toward equality.

Quesada, who is a former rock singer and a novelist, defeated his opponent — evangelical pastor Fabricio Alvarado – in a presidential runoff in April. He promised to lift the ban on gay marriage and protect the country’s reputation for tolerance.

Costa Rica has now become one of 28 countries to enact laws allowing LGBTQ couples to marry. In Mexico, the picture is mixed, with some jurisdictions allowing same-sex marriages and others not.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to pass legislation permitting same-sex marriage, in 2000.

Here’s a list of the other countries, along with the date when same-sex marriage was made legal:

Belgium (2003)                    Uruguay (2013)                     United States (2015)

Canada (2005)                    New Zealand (2013)             Columbia (2016)

Spain (2005)                        France (2013)                        Germany (2017)

South Africa ((2006)            Brazil (2013)                          Malta (2017)

Norway (2008)                     England and Wales (2013)   Australia (2017)

Sweden (2009)                    Scotland (2014)                     Austria (2019)

Iceland (2010)                      Luxembourg (2014)              Costa Rica (2020)

Portugal (2010)                    Finland (2015)

Argentina (2010)                  Ireland (2015)

Denmark (2012)                   Greenland (2015)

In Taiwan, the situation is complicated. The country’s top court ruled last year that same-sex couples could legally marry. This was the first such decision in Asia, but right-wing groups were able to petition for a referendum on the issue. That referendum will take place on November 24.

At least 25 percent of Taiwan’s 19 million eligible voters must vote yes for the referendum to pass, and the government is then required to create laws that reflect the results.    

With 195 countries in the world, we still have a long way to go to achieve marriage equality for all.

I recall the reactions when the same-sex marriage bill was going through the parliament of my home country, the UK, in 2012 and 2013. The opposition declared that if same-sex couples were allowed to marry, churches would be forced to marry people of the same gender, and that schools would have to promote such relationships.

The worst case scenario protested that legalizing same-sex marriage was part of a plot to undermine the sacred British veneration of the family, and that it would lead to the legalization of polygamy and bestiality.

Of course, none of this has happened, but many LGBTQ people have been able to marry the person they love.

Let’s hope the other 167 countries that lack marriage equality can also find the way forward.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

46 comments

Ingo S
Ingo S9 hours ago

great news

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Latoya B
Latoya Brookins4 days ago

Yay for Costa Rica! 💕

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Shae Lee
Shae Lee6 days ago

Thank you.

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Jan K
Jan K8 days ago

thanks very much

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Emma L
Emma L8 days ago

Thanks

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L9 days ago

thanks

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Mely Lu
Mely Lu9 days ago

Thanks

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Maria P
Maria P10 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Martin H
Martin H12 days ago

Very important.

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Lesa D
Lesa D12 days ago

thank you Judy...

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