San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Sala IV rejects challenge to referendum on gay rights


The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) on Tuesday rejected a claim filed by the Ombudswoman´s Office relating to a referendum on same-sex civil unions. The court did not specify the grounds for its decision.
The Ombudswoman’s Office hoped to nullify a proposed nationwide referendum on gay marriages on the grounds that the right of homosexual couples to form civil unions is “fundamental,” and that such rights are not an appropriate subject for a popular vote (TT, June 25).  
Gay-rights advocates fear that if a referendum takes place it will serve to deny homosexuals rights already guaranteed by the nation´s Constitution. Because Costa Rica is a strongly Catholic country, they are not optimistic that a vote on gay marriage will be in their favor.
The Supreme Elections Tribunal is currently reviewing the signatures submitted by Observatorio Ciudadano, an organization promoting the referendum. If the organization’s petition contains the valid signatures of 5 percent of the electorate, a countrywide vote could take place Dec. 5.

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