Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry Initiates Notification Process To Execute Court Order On Gay Marriage

The notification to public institutions to implement the order of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, on gay marriage was made this Friday.

People celebrate in La Fuente de la Hispanidad in San Pedro on January 9, 2018 after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage. Photo Juan Carlos Ulate

On Tuesday, the Court ruled that the countries that it oversees should treat same-sex couples “without discrimination,” ensuring that they receive the same family and financial rights as heterosexual couples. The Court also recommended that these rights be ensured through temporary decrees while governments pursue permanent laws.

A number of Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, do not allow same-sex marriage. In the Americas, same-sex marriage is currently legal in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico (certain states only), United States and Uruguay and is also legal in the territories of French Guiana and the Falkland Islands. An additional two countries have a form of civil union or registered partnership, namely Chile and Ecuador.

Verónica Vega, press chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the Chancellor, Manuel González, had signed the document to begin sending it to three institutions specifically: the Poder Judicial (Judiciary), the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the Asamblea Legislativa (Legislative Assembly).

The TSE is responsible for the Registro Civil (Civil Registry) that records births, deaths, marriages, and divorces.

At 12:02 pm Friday, through the Press Office, Gustavo Román, spokesman for the TSE, confirmed the notification.

At the same time, the Foreign Ministry also officially announced the completion of the notification process.

“The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto proceeded to officially communicate the scope of Advisory Opinion OC-24/17 of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, regarding the request for an opinion formulated by Costa Rica on the state’s obligations in relation to the change of name, gender identity and rights derived from a tie between same-sex couples,” said Roman.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision came in response to a petition submitted in May 2016 by Costa Rican president Luis Guillermo Solis, who had vowed to increase rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the majority Catholic country.

Friday afternoon, Luis Antonio Sobrado, President of the TSE, announced that they have already started working to determine the implementation of the ruling. “Our responsibility is to make a serious and rigorous analysis of what the impacts and institutional transfers of the Court ruling,” he said.

On Tuesday, the LGBTI community and supporters of same-sex marriages celebrated in Costa Rica and Latin America following the IACHR ruling.

The Court’s rulings apply to countries which have signed the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court was established by the regional body, the Organization of American States (OAS), and signatories to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights are bound by its rulings.