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Costa Rican lawyers claim ‘accidental’ bill does nothing for same-sex unions

Constitutional lawyers say that same-sex couples still lack the ‘legal capacity’ to enter into any type of civil unions.
President of Costa Rica Laura Chincilla has already signed a bill that some are interpreting as the gateway for legal same-sex partnerships.

Experts claim Costa Rica is no closer to allowing same-sex unions.

In a landmark ‘mistake’ this week, 45 Costa Rican politicians unknowingly approved a bill some believe could be a legal gateway to same-sex partnerships.

According to Costa Rican newspaper La Nación which broke the story earlier this week, lawyers Marvin Carvajal, Rubén Hernández and Pedro Beirute along with Judge Hector Amoretti believe that a ‘legal capacity’ clause in the new bill will hinder the wording from applying to same-sex couples. 

The text, included in Paragraph 4 of the Law of Young People, recognizes 'the right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity, social and economic effects of domestic partnerships that constitute publicly, notoriously unique and stable, with legal capacity for marriage for more than three years'.

The legal capacity, however, has been established Paragraph 6 of Article 14 of the Family Code, which by law prohibits the marriage between people of the same sex.

The attorneys suggest that the amendments to the Law of Young People do not in effect change Article 242, which states that only a man and a woman can possess the ‘legal capacity’ to marry, or also enter into a civil partnership with all the corresponding rights and benefits. 

The new bill, already signed by president Laura Chinchilla, is now at the center of a legal and political debate as to whether or not the controversial wording has any standing to legalize same-sex partnerships.

Politicians begged Chinchilla to veto the very bill they had approved, but the Costa Rican president said: 'No, we’re going to go forward and I will sign this law.

‘We understand that the debate is over how some interpret the law and this alone is not sufficient for the executive to veto the law.’

Moving forward, Judge Amoretti said individual case analyses will have to consider which elements hold more weight: the legal capacity to marry or the legal protection from discrimination.
 

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