In July of 2013, Costa Rica decided on one of the most controversial issues in politics: gay marriage. The decision came when the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly voted for changes in its “Law of Young People.” The change to civil unions for gay couples was made accidentally though when liberal members had created language in the law that could make civil unions legal.
Journalist Tim Walker reported that José María Villalta, a left-wing member wrote the part in the law that could allow for gay marriage. When discussing the issue, Villalta debated the issue with the other members and no one objected to extending the Law of Young People to gays. Villalta wrote the law to now include, “the right to recognition with out discrimination contrary to human dignity.” Villalta actively supports the rights of those in the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community and will lead a Gay rights march on June 29, 2014.
As expected, many were unhappy with the decision. Conservative lawmakers felt deceived and found the new law contradictory to the constitution. 30,000 Costa Ricans agreed and gathered at churches to march in defense of traditional marriage. They hoped that “Costa Rican families can be restored according to ‘God’s design'” (Evans).
Supporters of same-sex marriage are still struggling for equality and to share the same rights as heterosexual couples. However, there is hope from a group of political leaders. Johnny Araya, José María Villalta, Otto Guevara, and Luis Guillermo Solís are all presidential candidates who support same sex marriage rights. The candidates each support different rights that should be given to same sex marriage, for example, Otto Guevara does not support adoption for same sex couples. Overall, support for same sex marriage in Costa Rica is growing, a poll in 2012 found that 55 percent of Costa Ricans said same sex and heterosexual couples should share the same rights.
Kane, Corey. “Candidates in favor of expanding gay couples’ rights, but not marriage.” Tico Times. Tico Times, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Jun. 2014
“Costa Rica Government Reps Join Gay Rights March on the 29th.” The Costa Rica News. Google, 17 Jun. 2014. Web. 20 Jun. 2014.
“President Solis Proudly Flies Rainbow Flag in Support of Gay Rights” The Costa Rica News. Google, 17 May. 2014. Web. 20 Jun. 2014.
Walker, Tim. “Costa Rica ‘Accidentally’ legalizes gay marriage.” The Independent. The Independent, 5 Jul. 2013. Web. 20 Jun. 2014.
Evans, Marcel. “30,000 Protestors Expected to March Against Gay Marriage in Costa Rica.” Costa Rica Star. The Costa Rica Star, 20 Jul. 2013. Web. 20 Jun. 2014.