Lesbian couple becomes first to get married in Costa Rica
A lesbian couple has become the first to get married in Costa Rica after their country legalized gay marriage.
The couple, 24-year old Daritza Araya Arguedas and 29-year old Alexandra Quirós Castillo, were married in San Isidro de Heredia, a town outside the capital, San Jose.
The first gay marriage in Costa Rica
The officiator at the ceremony, Ana Cecilia Castro Calzada, wore a red coronavirus mask while the lesbian couple both wore white dresses.
The event was livestreamed on Facebook, complete with chirping wildlife in the background. Around 10,000 people watched the event, which was picked up by local news reports.
Before a small crowd, Calzada said during the ceremony: “You have begun in law what has existed in love.”
“We celebrate and honor this journey that you have made together as life companions in hope of a day like today: historic for you two and for Costa Rica,” she added.
Meanwhile, the couple gave their vows: “With this ring, I join you in marriage. May this ring remind you that I am always by your side in energy and love.”
Eight minutes after midnight, the couple exchanged their first married kiss.
The fight for LGBTQ rights in Costa Rica
This first gay marriage comes after a prolonged legal battle and several milestones. The first was with Carlos Alvarado Quesada being elected president of the country in 2018 on an explicitly marriage equality platform.
Quesada had beaten the Evangelical Christian candidate Fabricio Alvarado. Within that same year, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ruled that the same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
The high court also ordered lawmakers to draft a gay marriage law, or else it would become legal automatically by 26 May 2020. However, conservative legislators still opposed the law, even using the pandemic to delay it.
“As the country and the world face the difficult situation of the pandemic, this historic milestone becomes even more relevant,” said Gia Miranda, director of the Sí Acepto (or “I Do”) campaign for LGBTQ marriage equality.
With implementation of the law, Quesada tweeted in Spanish, which was translated to English: “Today, Costa Rica officially recognizes same-sex marriage.”
“Today we celebrate liberty, equality, and our democratic institutions. May empathy and love be the compass that guide us forward and allow us to move forward and build a country that has room for everyone,” he said.
Pushing for LGBTQ rights in the Americas
Among the countries in Latin America, Costa Rica is the sixth to legalize same-sex marriage. These include Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. Eighteen of the 31 states in Mexico also allow it.
Meanwhile, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights based in Costa Rica issued a 2017 opinion that stated same-sex couples should have the same rights as straight couples.
The following year, the court said that its member nations should provide same-sex couples with marriage rights.
Because of this, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) expressed support for Costa Rica after the law on same-sex marriage became official.
In a tweet, they said: “Marriage equality has become a reality in the country– the first one in Central America! We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”