(QCOSTARICA) A group of 24 legislators presented a motion on Tuesday to ask the Constitutional Court or Sala IV as it is commonly known in Costa Rica, to extend the entry into force of same-sex marriage for at least a year and a half after the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
Starting May 26, same-sex couples can register their marriage, because on that date expires the 18-month period the Constitutional Court gave the Legislative Assembly to reform Costa Rican laws to allow Equal Marriage.
On August 8, 2018, the Court declared the article of the Family Code that prohibits same-sex marriages unconstitutional, after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) considered that prohibition as discriminatory.
The bloc of legislators (making up 43% of the legislators) proposing the motion argue that, since the ruling, they have had to focus on other bills such as tax reform, the regulation of strikes and legislation to alleviate the economic crisis caused by the covid-19.
“The Legislative Assembly has been, in these months that have elapsed of term, only in six of them in ordinary sessions (May-July 2019 and September-November 2019); the rest (11 months in total), as a priority, knowing the agenda of the Executive Power in extraordinary sessions”, defend the proponents.
The motion was presented by the following legislators:
Partido Restauración Nacional (PRN): Carlos Avendaño, Xiomara Rodríguez, Mileidy Alvarado, Floria Segreda, Melvin Núñez and Geovanni Gomez
Nueva República bloc: Jonathan Prendas, Carmen Chan, Nidia Céspedes, Marolin Azofeifa, Ignacio Alpízar and Harllan Hoepelman.
Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN): Luis Fernando Chacón, David Gourzong and Luis Antonio Aiza.
Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC): Shirley Díaz, Aracelly Salas and Óscar Cascante.
Partido Integración Nacional (PIN): Patricia Villegas and Wálter Muñoz.
Partido Christian Social Republican (PRSC): Dragos Dolanescu and Otto Roberto Vargas.
Independents: Ivonne Acuña and Érick Rodríguez.
Last Friday, May 8, after the announcement of measures for the economic reactivation of the country in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, President Carlos Alvarado supported the prompt entry into force of equal marriage.
One of the arguments of the legislators to request the extension is that, for same-sex marriage to be enforced, it is necessary to reform at least nine laws, among others, the Civil Code, the Family Code, the Law of the National Financial System for Housing and the Creation of the Banhvi (Housing Mortgage Bank), the Law on Penalization of Violence against Women and the Constitutive Law of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS).
“We would also have, in a very possible way, a triggering of judicial decisions and jurisprudence that could become contradictory to each other, which would affect legal certainty. As a result of the foregoing, it is highly probable that a torrent of judicial consultations of constitutionality began before the Constitutional Court, ” defend the legislators.
“The contradictions and vices in judicial processes and rulings could cause uncertainty in the application and interpretation” argue further the bloc of legislators.
In their arguments, they also point to delays in procedures related to the Constitutional Court decisions of August 2018 and publications of notices in 2019. “This fact also prevented legislators from getting to know the substance of the matter,” the proponents cite.
On March 3, 2020, the Court rejected a request made by 11 legislators to postpone the entry into force of same-sex marriage.