Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Breaking News: Costa Rican court ratifies same-sex marriage ban

EFE is reporting that Costa Rica's Constitutional Court has ruled, in a 5-2 vote, that same-sex couples do not have the right to marry and that the country's Family Code does not violate their rights by establishing marriage as being that between a man and a woman.

The ruling is a defeat for gay attorney Yashin Castrillo, who asked the court to allow him to marry his partner.

UPDATE: In today's Al Dia, Pablo Guerén Catepillán and Paula Chinchilla report that, in the majority opinion, the Court determined that "there are no legal impediments for gays living together and [that] the ban instituted in the questioned norm only refers specifically to the institution of marriage."

Nevertheless, they also indicated that more could be done to recognize same-sex partnerships arguing that, in Costa Rica, there is an absence of "an appropriate norm to regulate these type of unions, specially if they bring conditions of stability and loyalty."

They also urged the country's Justice Department to establish rights and responsibilities that would better define same-sex partnerships.

Not surprisingly the current government welcomed the ruling (they had argued against recognition of same-sex marriages during the recent court hearing on the issue): Justice Minister Laura Chinchilla said that it was a balanced decision that kept the institution of marriage available only to heterosexual couples while "reiterating the rights derived from civil partnerships between couples of the same sex."

As for Mr. Castrillo, in statements made last night, he stated that the court had shown arrogance by "establishing the superiority of heterosexuals" and pledged to take case before the Inter-American Human Rights Court.

Finally, while both EFE and Al Dia report that the two judges that voted to allow marriages between same-sex couples did so while denying that gay couples should have the right to adopt, Diario Extra says that Judge Adrian Vargas Benavides voted not only in favor of the right to marry but also for the right to adopt.

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