SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica (ChurchMilitant.com) - Costa Rica has become the first Central American country and the sixth Latin American nation to legalize same-sex "marriage." LGBT celebrations kicked off with a lesbian couple tying the knot just after midnight Tuesday, when the law went into effect.
Seventy-six percent of Costa Rica's 5 million people are Catholic. The country's constitution establishes Catholicism as its official religion. A 2018 poll showed that seven out of ten Costa Ricans opposed gay marriage. In public comments on the topic in 2015, Abp. José Rafael Quirós of San José, head of the Catholic Church in Costa Rica, spoke out against same-sex "marriage," calling the union between a man and a women a "patrimony of humanity."
The archbishop's remarks followed a Costa Rican Family Court judge granting a same-sex couple the right to a common law marriage several months earlier. The country's common law marriage differs little from a traditional marriage in that it guarantees inheritance rights, social security, insurance and visitation rights. The archbishop also spoke out against proposed legislation legalizing in vitro fertilization.
Costa Rica opened the door to same-sex "marriage" in 2016 when it asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) to clarify two questions related to the American Convention on Human Rights, an international human rights pact adopted in 1969 by many countries in the Western Hemisphere.
The first question concerned whether nations are bound to "provide procedures for name, photo, and gender changes in accordance with an individual's gender identity, and whether Costa Rica's practices conform with this obligation." The second question involved whether countries are required to "recognize the economic rights derived from a bond between same-sex persons."
The court ruled in the affirmative on both questions. Its decision applied to all nations who signed the pact.
With an April 1 presidential election looming, the IACHR ruling had the effect of making same-sex "marriage" a key voter issue. Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a novelist and political activist, faced off against Alvarado Muñoz an evangelical TV journalist. Muñoz centered his campaign on "values."
According to The Guardian, Muñoz called the IACHR ruling "a violation of traditionally Catholic Costa Rica's sovereignty and values," and he "pledged to pull the country out of the court and the Organization of American States if he was elected." He also spoke out against "gender ideology," easy access to abortion, and other progressive ideas favored by global elites.
Though the race was projected to be close, Quesada won in a landslide.
The final blow to traditional marriage came in August 2018 when the Costa Rican Supreme Court of Justice declared unconstitutional the Family Code that prevented same-sex "marriage." The ruling gave Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly 18 months to prepare new regulations for same-sex "marriage" or the practice "would automatically become legal when the 18-month term expires May 26, 2020." And that is what happened. Without a single vote cast, same-sex "marriage" became the law of the land in Costa Rica.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association hailed the overthrow of traditional marriage on social media, tweeting: "Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country — the first one in Central America! We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!"
The only cloud overshadowing the celebrations was the Wuhan virus, which prevented public marriage ceremonies and celebrations. In the face of the outbreak, couples were forced to complete their marriages online.
Costa Rica's new president added this prediction. Quesada tweeted, "This change will cause a significant social and cultural transformation of the country."