How Costa Rica Influenced the Recognition of Equal Marriage in Bolivia

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    Bolivian laws recognized last week the first civil union between people of the same sex and among the legal support, Advisory Opinion OC24 / 17 stands out, introduced by Costa Rica to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It is the same that opened the doors to equal marriage in Costa Rica and that has already impacted other countries in the region. As happened in Costa Rica, the Bolivian constitutional jurisdiction used the pronouncement as a basis for expanding legal protection to homosexual couples.

    David, Guido and their rights
    Before the civil union between businessman David Aruquipa and lawyer Guido Montaño was legalized last week, 11 years of relationship and a long legal battle passed. The couple tried to obtain legal recognition of their union in various judicial and administrative instances.

    The main obstacle came when the Civic Registry Service (Sereci) denied the process. The rejection was taken to the Second Constitutional Chamber of La Paz, which last July left it without effect.

    The ruling ordered the annulment of an administrative resolution of the Sereci in which it failed to exercise control of conventionality and the highest standard established in the American Convention on Human Rights and OC-24 of the Inter-American Court, which was requested by a couple from the same sex as the basis for obtaining the official recognition and certification of the common law union that the mentioned couple has had for more than a decade reported then the Opinion medium.

    The authorities disregarded the ruling and appealed it to the Plurinational Constitutional Court. Pending a response, the Chamber gave Sereci 10 days to respond to its mandate. The pronouncement did not come, so its conclusions came into force and the union of Aruquipa and Montaño was legalized. In the Bolivian case, yes, the recognition reached the civil union but not the marriage.

    The footprint of Costa Rica
    The advisory opinion is a tool of the Inter-American Court to evaluate the adherence to Human Rights of the different policies by its member countries. Although resolutions of this type do not have the force of a sentence, some states like Costa Rica recognize them as such.

    The country has resorted to the figure on several occasions. The last one was in 2016 to consult on issues related to gender identity and recognition of the rights of homosexual couples.

    The final resolution came in January 2018 a few days before the Costa Rican presidential elections and influenced a large part of the campaign. Eight months later, the Supreme Court reiterated its thesis on the recognition of advisory opinions. By means of the sentence, 18 months was given to recognize gay marriage in the country.

    In the waiting period that Costa Rica had, OC24 / 17 also had an impact on Ecuador in 2019. Recognition was given, again, through the Constitutional Court. According to the majority of magistrates in that country, the opinion included homosexual couples within the protection of the Inter-American Human Rights System, which immediately legalized the marriages.

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