In its report dated April 15, 2018, the Hornet.com’s by Matt Baume sees the election of Carlos Alvarado as fantastic news of the former cabinet minister (and novelist!) easily defeating rival Fabricio Alvardo, “a virulently anti-queer pastor who opposed the freedom to marry,” in the run-off election.
Carlos promised the international ruling (on same-sex marriage) would stand. And now, with him due to be sworn in as the country’s new president in May, Costa Rica’s LGBTQ population can rest easy with an ally at the helm of the country.
During the campaign, Fabricio said marriage equality violated national values and that Costa Rica should isolate itself from its neighbors so that it would not be beholden to international human rights standards. Fabricio also stood against access to birth control, education and modern understandings of gender.
The Costa Rica decision could affect the South and Central American politics given Latin America’s major elections are due this year in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia and beyond.
In many of these elections, the ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San José, will be a prominent issue, since only a handful of Latin American countries have so far legalized the freedom to marry.
The ruling applies to the Latin American countries of Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru.
The Court recommended that governments issue temporary decrees legalizing same-sex marriage until new legislation is brought in. The Costa Rican government led by Luis Guillermo Solis subsequently announced that it would implement the ruling “in its totality”, and the government of Panama has also signaled that it would accept the ruling.
Same-sex marriage is currently legalized in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay, along with a handful of Mexican jurisdictions. Civil unions are performed in Chile and Ecuador.
In Chile, marriage bills are stalled in the legislature while President Sebastián Piñera does his best to avoid weighing in on the issue. The Constitutional Court in Ecuador is set to hear a marriage case later this year. Panama appears to be included in the international court ruling, which means that marriage may soon start there as well. The same is true for Peru and Venezuela, where marriage bills are making its way through legislatures.
The election in Costa Rica could be an early sign that voters are ready for change when it comes to LGBTQ equality in Latin America.