Monday 14 June 2021

State accuses lesbian couple who got married in 2015 for ‘detriment to the family’

The preliminary hearing against Laura Flórez-Estrada and Jasmine Elizondo, as well as their witnesses and the notary who married them, will be held on February 5

The State has accused Laura Flórez-Estrada and Jasmin Elizondo, as well as their witnesses and the notary who married them, in July 2015, on the crime of “falsedad ideológica en perjuicio de la familia” (ideological falsehood to the detriment of the family).

Laura Flórez-Estrada and Jazmín Elizondo were married in July 2015 when same-sex marriages were prohibited in Costa Rica. The marriage was registered due to an error in the Civil Registry. In 2018, a Constitutional Court paved the way for same-sex marriages in Costa Rica. Photo Marcela Bertozzi

The lesbian couple, who were able to be married thanks to an error in the Registro Civil (Civil Registry), the two witnesses and the notary will appear for a preliminary hearing in the Criminal Court of San José, on February 5, to determine if the case merits going to trial.

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The hearing date was made public Friday night by Marco Castillo, the notary who registered the civil marriage.

Adriana Sánchez González and Mario Villalta, are the two witnesses required to make the marriage official.

Castillo was able to register the marriage in 2015 between the two women, due to the fact that in the civil registry Jazmín Elizondo’s sex appeared as male.

The error was made public in early November of that year and triggered the State’s lawsuit against the five people involved.

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According to Castillo, the charge is for the defendants taking part in a marriage between same-sex couple prohibited by law at the time.

Since, in August 2018 the Constitutional Court (Sala Constitucional) resolved that the prohibition of marriages between persons of the same sex is unconstitutional.

“The logical thing would be that now our case does not go beyond the preliminary hearing, they should not process us and this should be dismissed,” explained Flórez-Estrada, that her intention is to ask the judge in the preliminary hearing to dismiss the case against her and the others.

The notice to the preliminary hearing that will take place on February 5, 2019

She added that, in addition, on their side is the advisory opinion issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and that led to  Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court decision.

For his part, Castillo explained that if the State continues with the process they will file a case with the IACHR for a violation of their human rights “now that equal marriage has been approved”.

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The lawyer added that he doesn’t believe that IACHR action will suit the State.

In addition, explained the lawyer, that accusing them of the crime of ideological falsehood to the detriment of the family, the Civil Registry tries to declare the nullity of the marriage between the two women, when it was the Registry’s error that had Jazmín Elizondo registered as male.


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