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Costa Rica closes gay marriage loophole after ‘accidental’ approval

Costa Rica closes gay marriage loophole after ‘accidental’ approval

Costa Rica has closed its gay marriage loophole after it was ‘accidentally’ approved in July.

Earlier this year, 45 Costa Rican politicians unknowingly approved a bill that some said was a legal gateway to recognizing same-sex unions.

When the Conservative lawmakers realized their mistake, they demanded President Laura Chinchilla to veto the bill.

Lawmaker Jose Maria Villalta, a member of the leftist Broad Front Party, suggested at the time that the anti-gay politicians simply did not read the entire bill before approving it.

The president went ahead and signed the legislation anyway, saying the debate over the ‘interpretation’ was not enough to disregard the law entirely.

The legislation changed article 22 of the ‘Law of Young People’.

Previously stating unions were only recognized if they were between a man and a woman, the bill now 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.’

Gay rights activists said the only way the loophole would be able to get same-sex marriages recognized in Costa Rica was for it to be ruled on in the court system.

Alberto Gonzalez and Lorenzo Serrano, a couple of seven years, requested the courts to recognize their civil rights as a couple to get married.

But the Family Court of San Jose rejected their request, therefore setting a precedent and closing the loophole that was the key to same-sex marriage in Costa Rica.

While the first case was rejected, the couple say they will continue to fight for their rights to be married.

Experts say the courts will have to decide in individual cases which holds more weight: the legal capacity to marry or the legal protection from discrimination.