Equal Marriage in Costa Rica Arrives at Half a Year


Six months have passed since same-sex marriage came legally into force in Costa Rica and the number of couples who have taken advantage of the right continues to grow. Until this Thursday, November 26th, there were 468 unions reported.

According to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the registry is divided: 193 digitally enrolled, 210 traditionally processed before the Civil Registry, and 65 held abroad where one of the parties is Costa Rican. The data includes those who have celebrated the marriage during the last half-year and those who advanced the process while waiting for the right to take effect.

The wait for the right to marriage is over

The possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage has been debated in Costa Rica since the 1990s but it took decades to materialize. Different projects for both marriage and the civil union reached the Legislative Assembly in the 2000s without progress.

In 2010, for its part, the TSE endorsed the start of a process to bring the matter to a referendum, which was finally annulled by Chamber IV of the Supreme Court. The administration of Luis Guillermo Solís chose to settle the matter in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which at the beginning of 2018 issued a favorable opinion.

The issue was transcendental in the elections of the same year and the Supreme Court took the issue up again, which voted in favor of the marriage. The difference of criteria divided the magistrates who debated on the term intensely.

Finally, a period of 18 months was established for the National Legislative Assembly to regulate the issue and in case of non-agreement in the Chamber, the unions would be equalized. This is what happened and it was precisely on May 26th, 2020 when equal marriage became valid in the country.

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