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Costa Rica legalizes same-sex marriage

A same-sex couple with a marriage certificate in San José, Costa Rica, on Tuesday Associated Press/Photo by Carlos Gonzalez

Costa Rica legalizes same-sex marriage

A yearslong battle over same-sex marriage in Costa Rica has come to an end. A law declaring marriage legally impossible to people of the same sex automatically expired at midnight on Tuesday.

How did gay marriage become legal without a vote? More than two years ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that countries had to allow same-sex marriage to comply with the American Convention on Human Rights. After the Costa Rican Supreme Court declared the country’s prohibitions on gay marriage unconstitutional in August 2018, the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica had 18 months to change the law. When that deadline passed on Tuesday with no action, the law changed automatically. The marriage issue was instrumental in Costa Rica’s 2018 presidential election in which Carlos Alvarado defeated Fabricio Alvarado, a proponent of traditional marriage.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Jamie Dean’s report on the debates over abortion and same-sex marriage in Mexico.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.


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