The Constitutional Court or Sala IV has ordered the Legislative Assembly (Congress) to legislate same-sex marriage in Costa Rica within a maximum period of 18 months, otherwise, it will be effective almost immediately.
After an intense day, the session beginning Wednesday morning, the magistrates of the Court debated about the appeal of unconstitutionality presented by lawyer and former president of the Diversity Movement, Marco Castillo, as well as the same-sex couple Laura Flores-Eztrada Pimentel and Jasmine Elizondo.
Wednesday’s session was the longest in almost 29 years.
This means, in simple words, that they gave the Legislative Assembly 18 months to regulate this matter. According to magistrate Fernando Castillo, president of the Constitutional Court, if the legislature does not act within the 18 months, the Court would annul article 14, subsection 6 of the Código, thus allowing same-sex marriage.
The Defensoría de los Habitantes (Ombudsman’s Office) was surprised by the Court ruling. The Defensoría considers that although it respects the resolution, the Court did not allow the opportunity for the resolution to be conclusive and definitive.
Defense groups of this union gathered outside the institution to demand equality, leaders questioning why the Court the need for the 18 months, meaning same-sex marriage is continues prohibited until then.
Last January, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), based in San José, resolved the advisory opinion presented by the government of Luis Guillermo Solis regarding equal marriage and the economic rights of the LGBTI community.
The IACHR ruled that the 22 signatory states of the American Convention on Human Rights should recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex.
The ruling caused a huge stir in the Costa Rican society, especially among the most conservative groups, which immediately opposed the application of the rule. And possibly had an effect on the presidential elections held on Februay 6.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), directly involved in the issue, announced last May that it began receiving applications for registration of marriages between persons of the same sex and making a marginal annotation, but, that the marriages could not be registered until the Constitutional Court resolves the changes in the Family Code.
The TSE, thus, left it to the Constitutional Court to repeal or annul the articles of the law that directly clashed with the approval of same-sex marriage.
The ruling of Sala IV places Costa Rica in the countries of the Americas such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Canada, Uruguay and Mexico, where same-sex marriage is legal.