Costa Rica: Legalisation of marriage for all

Translated by Lauren Valentine, proofread by Charlotte Borne

26th May 2020, a day of celebration in Costa Rica: equal marriage is finally legal. It becomes the first country in Central America to authorise such a union. Several couples have placed rings on each other’s fingers since this law came into effect.

At midnight on Monday 25th May, the ban on homosexual marriage was lifted. This news was long-awaited by the LGBTI community amongst others, who suffer sexual discrimination to this day. Some didn’t wait around and got married as soon as the ban was lifted. This was the case for Dunia Araya and Alexandra Quiros, the country’s first legally married homosexual couple. Both wearing white dresses, they got married before a notary protected against Covid-19 by a mask.

The virus has caused many planned celebrations and festivities to be replaced by hours of televised footage. This program, organised by the ‘Sí acepto’ (yes I accept) campaign, pays homage to all victims of sexual discrimination. Songs, historic facts, and even the retransmission of the first marriage are to be featured. For 40 years, the ‘Sí acepto’ community had tried to legalise marriage for all. It is a big step for the country that deserves to be celebrated.

Marriage for all in Costa Rica: why such a wait?

The main factors are the presence of religion and of a political divide. Many seats in Parliament are occupied by evangelist MPs (14 of 57). Despite the conflicts of interest and the many attempts by the former to continue the ban, it has been revoked.

The country’s President, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, rejoiced on social media: “Costa Rica officially recognises equal marriage. Today we celebrate freedom, equality and the democratic institutions. Let empathy and love be the compass that guides us forwards and build a country where every person fits in.”

A declaration that did not go unnoticed amongst evangelist MPs. Nidia Céspedes, an MP, declared on social media: “TODAY IS A SAD DAY FOR THE TRADITIONAL COSTA RICAN FAMILY. The entry into force of equal marriage hits the heart of generations of Costa Ricans who cemented the foundations of a great country devoted to family and to life.”

Despite a major political divide, the vast majority of the population is delighted by this announcement. Several couples are waiting to finally be legally married in their country. International celebrities and communities have congratulated the Costa Ricans for the news. The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) tweeted: “We’re celebrating with you: congratulations to all those who have worked so hard to make this happen!” Today, the Costa Ricans are celebrating a huge victory for the LGBTI community and its supporters.

You may also like