SAN JOSE – A wedding livestreamed on social media in the wee hours of Tuesday marked the start of the gay marriage era in Costa Rica, an event that comes 18 months after that nation’s high court ruled that banning that practice was unconstitutional.
Both dressed in white, Alexandra Quiros and Daritza Araya tied the knot before a notary in a ceremony that was transmitted over the Internet starting at 12.01 am by the “Si Acepto” (Yes, I Do) organization.
Few people were present at the site of the ceremony due to the Central American country’s restrictions on mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dozens of other same-sex couples also have registered their marriages in the Civil Registry and are now waiting for their ceremonies to be officiated starting Tuesday.
The constitutional court ruled in August 2018 that Costa Rica’s ban on gay marriage violated the nation’s charter and gave Congress 18 months to amend the current law. It said that otherwise the ban would be repealed automatically.
Since lawmakers took no action in that regard, gay marriage became legal on Tuesday.
The constitutional court’s decision came seven months after the San Jose-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all signatory nations to the American Convention on Human Rights must guarantee the rights of the sexually diverse population, including gender identity and gay marriage.
Costa Rica has become the first Central American nation – and 29th worldwide – in which gay marriage has been legalized.
Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado on Monday night issued a message on social media advocating for “a diverse, plural and united Costa Rica, where empathy and love are the compass that guides us forward.”
“Our duty is to combat all types of discrimination, whether for reasons of disability, ethnicity, culture, religious belief, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation or any other. And it’s from this perspective of seeking to defend all human rights that … we must understand this step,” Alvarado said.
The center-left head of state said that LGBTIQ people are seeking a space for the recognition and dignity that all human beings deserve and that when they decide to get married “they do so for love, for stability and because they have future plans. They have the same motivations anyone else may have.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible for members of the LGBTIQ population to hold mass gatherings, but a three-hour public broadcast was aired on Monday night in commemoration of that community’s decades-long fight for equality, capped off by a midnight toast to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage.