The education minister of Costa Rica resigned on Monday (1 July) following protests over his support for gender-neutral bathrooms.
The Pentecostal Christian-aligned opposition party and other groups had led week-long protests against Edgar Mora Altamar, according to local media.
They criticized Mora for his proposal to allow transgender students to use the bathroom according to the gender with which they identify.
Mora, during his resignation on Monday, said these were ‘difficult, convulsive and complex times’.
In 2018, Costa Ricans elected the center-left candidate President Carlos Alvarado Quesada. In a tweet on Monday, he thanked Mora for his service.
Nearly 40% of the final vote in 2018 went to the President’s conservative, Pentecostal Christian opponent.
Same-sex marriage in Costa Rica
In the run-up to elections, presidential hopefuls campaigned on the issue of same-sex marriage and ‘gender ideology’.
President Carlos Alvarado Quesada in March this year said Costa Rica will legislate same-sex marriage before it becomes legally automatically in May 2020 in line with a Supreme Court ruling.
In August last year, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court 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.
Alvarado in December passed legislation to afford LGBTI citizens more rights.
New measures allow same-sex couples in Costa Rica the right to receive a housing allowance for low-income families.
The legislation also recognizes same-sex transnational partnerships and extends the recognition of gender identity to migrants.
Costa Rica also passed legislation last year which will allow trans individuals to register under their assigned gender.
In the US, conservative groups in some states have pushed so-called ‘bathroom bills’.
Advocates slam them as an attack on transgender and non-binary students. They force students to use bathrooms and locker rooms in line with their official documents, not how they identify.