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Court Orders Costa Rica to End Its Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Why Global Citizens Should Care:
Twenty six countries have legalized same-sex marriage around the world, advancing equality and human rights. You can join us by taking action on these issues and the rest of the Global Goals here.

A ban on same-sex marriages in Costa Rica was ordered to be struck down this week by the country’s Supreme Court, reported TIME.

The court declared the law unconstitutional and discriminatory, then gave lawmakers 18 months to amend it, Agence France-Presse noted.

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“We continue to deploy actions that guarantee no person will face discrimination for their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that the state’s protection be given to all families under equal conditions,” Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado wrote on Twitter.

His opinion is an outlier in his government and some expressed skepticism as to whether the law will actually be changed: Costa Rica is a majority Roman Catholic country with a high number of evangelical lawmakers opposing gay marriage that sit on the legislative assembly, noted TIME.

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“I see it as not very likely that in 18 months the Legislative Assembly will work out a law,” said Enrique Sanchez, an openly gay lawmaker in President Alvarado’s Citizen Action Party, according to AFP.

But Magistrate Fernando Castillo is doubling down on the decision. 

Castillo said if the legislature does not make the necessary policy changes within the 18-month timeframe, gay marriage will simply become legal by default because the ban will have expired, reported Associated Press.

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The law against gay marriage was challenged in January when a same-sex couple applied to be married, but the local notary was directed to not permit the marriage until laws banning gay marriage was changed.