San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gay Community Seeks Involvement in 2006 Election

LEADERS of Costa Rica’s gay communityhave announced that they plan toincrease their participation in the 2006presidential election with an “informedvote” about the sexual-orientation policiesof the candidates.Abelardo Araya, president of theDiversity Movement, which seeks to combatdiscrimination based on sexual orientation,said Wednesday that the group willpressure candidates to make their viewson sexual orientation known.The gay and lesbian community willnot vote for any candidate who discriminatesagainst people based on sexual orientation,according to Araya.“We believe that our actions… willgenerate a more participatory and democraticsociety,” Araya said.The group’s “Citizen Campaign forGLTB (Gays, Lesbians, Transgenderedand Bisexuals): A Vote for Equality” willalso include discussion forums, an anti-discriminationbill and debates betweenpresidential candidates.No statistics exist regarding the numberof homosexuals in Costa Rica, butaccording to the Diversity Movementapproximately 10% of the nearly 2.5 millionpeople eligible to vote here are gay.Costa Rica’s presidential elections willtake place in February 2006.

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