Roberto Castillo and Mario Arias could become one of the first same-sex couples to marry in Costa Rica after the country received the order of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) – Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos in Spanish – to apply “Matrimonio Igualitario” (Equal Marriage).
The couple is expected to meet next Tuesday with a notary to inform them if it is already possible to register same-sex marriages before the Civil Registry. If so, that same day they would fix their wedding day for the coming weekend.
According to the two young men who met eight years ago on the Internet, their first meeting in person was over three years ago in Curaçao, the Dutch Caribbean island.
Roberto, a Venelezuan national, left his country to come and live in Costa Rica, where he has lived with Mario for more than two years.
“We already know each other a lot, we have lived together for more than two years and we believe that this is the logical step,” said Mario.
Roberto is 25 years old and works in digital design, while Mario is 28 years old and software engineer.
The marriage, they say, would allow them to regulate Roberto’s immigration status in the country, who has been seeking residency for more than two years. It would also open the possibility of having social security.
The couple trust that their decision will encourage a new attitude,” said Mario. “We hope it is an impulse for society to begin to discriminate less”.
On Wednesday, the Registro Civil (Civil Registry) announced it was waiting on the central government’s notification to determine the changes that must be made to comply with the Court’s mandate to register a same-sex marriage.
Marvin Carvajal, legal director at Casa Presidencial (Presidential House) said on Thursday that they would begin to give notice to all the institutions that should participate in the implementation of the orders of the Inter-American Court.
The binding ruling issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that established:
The State must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex in accordance with the provisions of Articles 11.2 and 17.1 of the American Convention. (…) in accordance with articles 1.1, 2, 11.2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention, it is necessary to guarantee access to all the existing figures in domestic legal systems, including the right to marry. (..) To ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples, without discrimination with respect to those that are constituted by heterosexual couples.
The Costa Rican government, which moved directly to the IACHR for an official pronouncement, announced that it will abide by the resolution in all its extremes before the end of its current period.
Same-Sex Uninos in The Americas
In the Americas, same-sex marriage is currently legal in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, United States and Uruguay and is also legal in the territories of French Guiana and the Falkland Islands. An additional two countries have a form of civil union or registered partnership, namely Chile and Ecuador.
In Mexico, twelve Mexican states and the Mexican federal district of Mexico City have legalized same-sex marriage, although such marriages are recognized throughout the 31 states of Mexico, and same-sex couples can get married in any other state by obtaining a court injunction.