This is the moment two lesbians made history by becoming the first same-sex couple to marry in Costa Rica.
The central American country changed the law at midnight. And Daritza Araya and Alexandra Qu Castillo celebrated by getting wed just minutes later.
The emotional ceremony in San Isidro de Heredia was broadcast by Teletica as part of a special celebration of marriage equality.
The marriage officiant wore a face mask and maintained social distancing. And coronavirus meant only a few guests could join them.
However, it was an emotional moment for the whole country as they exchanged vows. The couple said:
‘With this ring, I join you in marriage. May this ring remind you that I am always by your side in energy and love.’
The promise of a ‘better future’
Gia Miranda is campaign director of The Sí Acepto – or ‘I Do’ – campaign for LGBT+ marriage equality. She said:
‘As the country and the world face the difficult situation of the pandemic, this historic milestone becomes even more relevant.
‘[It is] a message of a better future for thousands of couples and families who will receive the legal recognition they deserve.’
It marks the end of years of campaigning to secure marriage equality in Costa Rica.
Back in November 2017, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all of its signatory countries must allow same-sex marriage. This includes Costa Rica.
Then in August 2018, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled it was against the constitution to block same-sex marriage.
That November, the Supreme Court justices gave the country’s Legislative Assembly 18 months to act. Today (26 May) marks that deadline meaning the court’s ruling overrides the ban on same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, the April 2018 presidential election became a kind of referendum on marriage equality.
Evangelical Christian Fabricio Alvarado candidate soared in the polls by arguing against the Inter-American Court’s decision. However, while the polls looked close, marriage-equality supporter Carlos Alvarado won the election by 61% to 39%.
Could same-sex marriage spread even further?
As a result, Costa Rica has now become the 29th country to have same-sex marriage.
Moreover, the Inter-American Court’s decision from 2017 still stands. The ruling is binding on all member countries. However, it is not clear how long it will take them to follow Costa Rica.
Of the court’s member countries, only Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay and now Costa Rica have same-sex marriage.
But the ruling also applies to Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.
Of those, the most advanced is arguably Mexico which has marriage equality in 18 of its 31 states and in the capital, Mexico City.
Meanwhile, if this has inspired you to visit stunningly beautiful Costa Rica, you can check out some of its highlights here.