The debate over same-sex marriage in Costa Rica has given air to an evangelical Christian singer candidate to jump up the polls and win the first round of Costa Rica’s presidential election Sunday.
Fabricio Alvarado, a former television journalist and now influential Pentecostal singer, won the popular vote.
He will now go onto face Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a former labor minister, in the April 1 runoff. Though they share the same last name, the two men are not related.
Fabrico won almost 25 percent of the vote in comparison to the almost 22 percent for Carlos Alvarado Quesada won, the New York Times reports.
Fabricio has made his opposition to same-sex marriage the heart of his campaign. Allowing him to emerge on top, from what was otherwise a busy field of 13 candidates.
The 43-year-old Fabricio begun his political career in 2014 when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly.
He called the current ruling government ‘a violation of the country’s sovereignty and an affront to traditional values.’
‘We have to stand up to those who want to trample on the family,’ he told a campaign debate.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada supports same-sex marriage. Therefore, it looks as if the presidential election will essentially now become a referendum on the issue.
Could this election overturn a ruling to allow same-sex marriage in Costa Rica?
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) said in January, the countries it oversees should treat same-sex couples ‘without discrimination.’
Consequently, the Costa Rican government accepted a ruling, that will lead to marriage equality.
IACHR oversees are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala.
The panel of seven judges issued a statement saying governments:
‘Must recognize and guarantee all the rights that come from a family bond between people of the same sex.’
But Costa Rica’s 3.3 million residents are predominantly Roman Catholic. Moreover, many consider themselves conservative.
And Fabricio Alvarado is relying heavily on those conservative voters.
But, as no candidate received at least 40% of the 4 February vote – a runoff election with the top two candidates will happen on April 1.