Friday, June 02, 2006

US gay media on Costa Rica same-sex marriage ban

In "Costa Rica high court rules against same sex marriage," The Advocate online picks up information attributed there to Sirius OutQ News but also is suspiciously similar to blurbs in conservative religious websites such as Lifesite and Catholic Online.

All of them have one thing in common: They name Notivida, an extremely homophobic religious Spanish-language site based in Argentina that calls itself a "News-bulletin related to the promotion and defense of human life and the family" as the original source.

Although I understand that most LGBT press does not have the resources or staff to monitor, translate and /or investigate issues related to LGBT issues throughout Latin America and mostly rely - instead - on international news feeds from UPI, EFE, AP, Reuters and others for their reporting, it is still problematic to me when these news just retread what Latin American conservative sites say about these issues (just imagine these and other LGBT news publications exclusively relying on Focus on the Family press releases for articles on LGBT rights!).

I personally brought the issue a few years ago to Bruce C. Steele, current Editor in Chief at The Advocate, when I noticed a similar problem about a blurb on gay rights in Puerto Rico (in that case I was told that the actual source was the AP). Mr. Steele proved to be candid and extremely open to suggestions on the improvement of their coverage of issues related to the Latino LGBT community and, to be fair, their coverage of Latino LGBT issues has indeed improved greatly under his direction.

Now, as you know, Blabbeando has been following the developments in Costa Rica closely (see below for past entries). And, even by our journalist standards, we could have told Sirius and The Advocate that some key information is missing from yesterday's blurb.
  1. Attorney Yashin Castrillo went to court to challenge already existing language in Costa Rica's Family Code - not the constitution - limiting marriage to that between a woman and a man.
  2. While the Court ruled 5-2 against Castrillo, in an interesting development, they also used the ruling to encourage the government to seek "an appropriate norm to regulate these type of unions, specially if they bring conditions of stability and loyalty."
Checking with Costa Rican gay activist (and Indiana University professor) Daniel Soto today, he confirmed that some LGBT advocates in the country saw the ruling as opening some doors even if it ruled against removing the discriminatory language from the Family Code.

There are also renewed efforts by Costa Rican LGBT rights advocates to engage the government in making sure that they follow the Court's mandate to study other options that might be available to recognize same-sex partnerships.

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