COSTA RICA NEWS  – While Costa Rica does not recognize same-sex marriage*, it does recognize same-sex couples for some purposes such as conjugal visit, health-related decisions and social insurance (the Caja), the British Embassy in Costa Rica is on the list of approved UK consulates allowing same-sex marriages.

On Friday the first ever same-sex marriage in a British consulate took place in Sydney, Australia. Peter Fraser and Gordon Stevenson were married at the Sydney consulate after meeting in 1995 when they met by chance in a pub.

The British Embassy in Costa Rica says it has not performed any same-sex marriages as yet.

Among a list of host countries which allow same-sex marriage ceremonies to take place in British consulates is Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam.

This list of countries is limited because British missions are only able to provide a same sex marriage service in countries where it is not possible for British nationals to have such a marriage under local law and where the local authorities have given permission for the missions to conduct consular marriages of same sex couples.

Couples need to be resident in the Consular District.

* On 1 July 2013, Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly passed legislation that would grant the benefits of domestic partnerships “without discrimination contrary to human dignity”. Liberal lawmakers indicated during debate that the changes would open civil unions to same-sex couples. Conservative lawmakers immediately called upon President Laura Chinchilla to veto the legislation, claiming that they mistakenly voted for the bill. Chinchilla refused to oppose the bill’s passage and signed it into law days later. The bill took effect 8 July 2013.

On 10 July, six same-sex couples asked courts to start the process to have their relationships recognized through civil unions. A day later, a family court accepted one of the petitions. Their appeal was rejected.

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