Costa Ricans march against new Human Rights Commission president

Thousands of Costa Rican LGBTs and their supporters have taken to the streets to protest the appointment of a Human Rights Commission president who actively opposes gay rights

Costa Ricans march against new Human Rights Commission president
17 June 2012

Thousands of LGBT Costa Ricans and their supporters took to the streets of San Jose on Saturday morning in what they called a March of the Invisibles to protest for the rights of marginalised people and to ensure the separation of church and state in the country.

The march was the culmination of an online campaign which saw 15,000 people sign a petition calling on the president of Costa Rica’s Human Rights Commission, Justo Orozco, to resign.

Orozco, an independent evangelical Christian MP, was appointed to the post as part of a deal to shore up his support for the governing coalition between the National Liberation Party and Access Without Exclusion Party.

The Commission is a panel within the Costa Rican Congress that decides which human rights bills will be given priority in the Congress.

Since Orozco joined the Commission it blocked a bill that would have given same-sex couples inheritance rights and recognition as couples for the purpose of pensions and other social security benefits.

Following the move Orozco told news media that he believed that homosexuality was a sin and a curable condition.

‘It is written in The Bible,’ Orozco said.

‘I have anecdotal proof. In the local churches here, I met one who was that way and who got straightened out.’

The march was joined by opposition lawmakers Carlos Gómgora, Carmen Muñoz and Manuel Monestel, who helped scrub the walls of Congress to symbolically cleanse it of corruption.

Earlier in June, Muñoz, who is also a member of the Human Rights Commission, described Orozco’s appointment as “bad taste,” saying he had no understanding of human rights.

Only the month before Orozco had voted against a motion declaring the Congress "free of homophobia."

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