Costa Rica legalises same-sex marriage in first for Central America

Costa Rica gave the go-ahead to same-sex marriages on Tuesday, making it the first country in Central America to do so after a landmark court ruling came into effect at midnight.

The nation’s constitutional court ruled in August 2018 that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and gave parliament 18 months to legislate or the provision would be automatically nullified.

Earlier this month, more than 20 lawmakers tried to delay the marriage ruling by 18 months but the measure failed and the ban was lifted at midnight – although couples will have to opt for online weddings due to the coronavirus restrictions.

“Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country – the first one in Central America!” said the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in a tweet.

“We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”

Costa Rica is the eighth country in the Americas to recognise same-sex marriage — a group that includes Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, as well as Canada and the US.

Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN’s Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, called the change “an extraordinary moment of celebration” in a tweet posted on Monday.

He expressed “gratitude to the work of so many activists, and of quiet reflection of the lives of those who lived without seeing this moment.”

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