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A pro same-sex marriage candidate just won the presidency in Costa Rica

A pro same-sex marriage candidate just won the presidency in Costa Rica

Carlos Alvarado on stage smiling holding a child throwing his arms in the area surround by flags and people cheering

In good news for Costa Rica’s LGBTI community, Carlos Alvarado, has won a photo finish presidential election.

On Sunday the Latin American nation headed to the polls for a runoff election between the centre-left Alvarado and his conservative and religious opponent Fabricio Alvarado. The two men have the same surname but are not related.

Alvarado won with 60% of the vote. Fabricio Alvarado who used to be an evangelical singer only 39% of the vote.

The election came down to the wire with same-sex marriage a dominant issue throughout the election campaign.

When the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that member nations should legalize same-sex marriage, Fabricio said it violated Costa Rica’s ‘traditional values’.

Costa Rica’s government at the time agreed to comply with the IACHR’s ruling. But Fabricio said it was ‘a violation of the country’s sovereignty and an affront to traditional values.’

Marriage equality takes center stage

Costa Rica’s 3.3 million residents are predominantly Roman Catholic and most consider themselves conservative. Many commentators said the election would essentially be a referendum on marriage equality because the issue had taken center stage during the campaign.

Alvarado said his win sent a ‘beautiful’ message to the world.

‘Let’s celebrate our 200 years of Indpendence with a government worthy and up to date with the times,’ he wrote on Twitter.

‘Today, the world is watching us and we sent a beautiful democratic message.’