Costa Rica’s Supreme Court on Wednesday (14 November) gave lawmakers 18 months to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
The court officially released a ruling made in August. It found the Family Code, which prevents same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional.
The ruling said that if there was no legislation within 18 months, same-sex marriage will automatically come into law.
But, the court did not officially set the deadline until Wednesday’s release.
Costa Rica is, therefore, poised to be the first country in Central America to recognize same-sex unions.
Discrimination cannot be justified
The ruling says that ‘acts of open discrimination, whether they are expressed or implied, cannot be justified in any way in a democratic society that respects fundamental rights’.
But, at 200-pages long, activists in Costa Rica are still analyzing the court’s decision.
Luis Salazar, the president of LGBTI Populations Affairs, said it would take ‘exhaustive study’ on Twitter.
‘We are analyzing in detail the hundreds of pages that make up this ruling,’ Margarita Salas, a Costa Rican LGBTI activist told the Los Angeles Blade on Wednesday.
This is a fundamental step in continuing the fight for the human rights for LGBTI people in Costa Rica.’
Long wait for equality
Writing the law is ‘complex’. That’s what interim president of the Constitutional Chamber, Fernando Castillo, said earlier this month.
He said also said some lawmakers had not finalized their notes.
What’s more, Enrique Sanchez, the country’s first openly gay legislator, has accused the chamber of purposefully delaying the law change.
The legislative chamber has 57 seats. Evangelical, anti-LGBTI members, however, hold 14 of the seats.