Costa Rica has legalized same-sex marriages,making it the first country in Central American to legalize same-sex marriage, following a court ruling which came into force at midnight.
Gay marriage has become increasingly accepted in Latin America, with gay couples now allowed to marry in Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and parts of Mexico.
Costa Rica also became the sixth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage with the court ruling, following most recently Ecuador, which allowed it last year. It is also permitted in some parts of Mexico.
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.
The issue took center stage in Costa Rica’s 2018 presidential election after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights earlier that year issued an opinion that countries like Costa Rica, which had signed the American Convention on Human Rights, had to move immediately to legalize gay marriage. It helped propel President Carlos Alvarado to victory over an evangelical candidate, Fabricio Alvarado, who had campaigned against it.
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