Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
The court’s decision, which was ruled on Wednesday night after a day of deliberation, gives the Central American country’s legislators a maximum of 18 months to change the current law.
The ruling was lauded by President Carlos Alvarado, who took office three months ago after a runoff election.
Many lawmakers in the country are evangelicals who strongly oppose same-sex marriage, which makes gay rights-supporting legislators believe they will not agree on a law in the given time frame.
“I see it as not very likely that in 18 months the Legislative Assembly will work out a law,” said Enrique Sanchez, the country’s first openly gay legislator.
However, luckily for Sanchez and LGBTQ activists, even if lawmakers cannot hash out a new law that is consistent with the court’s ruling, the ban will automatically be lifted by February 2020 regardless.
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The ruling complies with a judgement issued by the Inter-American Human Rights Court in January that says same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. All signatory states of the American Convention on Human Rights, which includes Costa Rica, is subject to the court’s ruling.
Laura Flores-Eztrada Pimentel and Jasmine Elizondo were the couple who took the ban’s constitutionality to court. Their victory was much thanks to lawyer Marco Castillo, the former president of the Diversity Movement, a LGBTQ advocacy group, who represented the couple.
Costa Rica now joins a long list of countries who have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage since the Netherlands became the first to do so back in 2000.