San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Country’s Gay Community Demanded Equal Rights

For the country s gay community, 2006 was a year of firsts, setbacks and successes on its path toward obtaining equal rights.

For the first time in political history, this year presidential candidates received representatives from the country s gay media in their offices and homes for interviews. By January, the Web site ( gay pride Costa Rica ) featured interviews with candidates Otto Guevara (Libertarian Movement Party), Ottón Solís (Citizen Action Party), Antonio Alvarez Desanti (Union for Change) and President to-be Oscar Arias (National Liberation Party) on topics such as gay rights and same-sex marriage.

In April, the country hosted its first Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender (GLBT) conference, which drew more than a hundred national and foreign activists to the community of Birrí, in the province of Heredia. Participants included Argentinean César Cigliutti, the first Latin American homosexual to join his partner in civil union.

The gay community suffered a blow May 23, when the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) ruled against same-sex marriage, rejecting a 2003 lawsuit filed by lawyer Yashin Castrillo, who alleged Costa Rica s Family Code is unconstitutional because it explicitly prohibits same-sex marriage.

However, the Sala IV ruling called for the creation of a legal framework for same-sex couples, so activists rallied in favor of a bill to guarantee these couples the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples. The proposed Law of Civil Union for Same-Sex Couples was submitted to the Legislative Assembly in September.


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