Solís administration cagey on plans for gay union, in vitro fertilization bills

November 12, 2014
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Officials from President Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration were tight-lipped about their support for two controversial bills in the upcoming legislative session that were campaign promises of the Citizen Action Party’s (PAC) presidential platform: gay civil unions and in vitro fertilization. The bills might prove too divisive for a government struggling to secure support from a fractured legislature.

Presidency Minister Melvin Jiménez said that the administration had yet to identify the bills it would present to the Legislative Assembly next week. Neither of the two contentious bills made it into the administration’s previous extraordinary session in August. During an extraordinary session the presidency proposes its own bills to the Assembly.

Jiménez did not tip his hand during a press conference Tuesday but said that Casa Presidencial was in dialogue with the PAC caucus to determine if the votes would be available.

“I don’t think they’ll risk it,” opined political analyst Constantino Urcuyo. He told The Tico Times that the bills were likely too polarizing for lawmakers and that the executive branch was unlikely to pick fights with the Evangelicals and the Catholic Church at this time.

Urcuyo said that if one of the two bills had to move forward it would most likely be IVF, but he stressed that it also was a long shot. Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly has been unable to agree on a bill to legalize IVF since the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the government to offer the fertility procedure in 2012.

The Solís administration has struggled to wrangle the multiparty legislature, including members of its own political party, PAC, since taking office in May.  Fiscal concerns, like the 2015 budget approval looming by the end of November, have recently become the government’s top legislative priority. The Solís administration previously announced that it would present a bill to introduce a value-added tax before the end of the calendar year and a global income tax for Costa Rican citizens sometime in 2015.

“Now, the priority is to get the money to run the government,” Urcuyo said.

IVF has languished these first months of the Solís administration, but LGBT issues have received more attention, even if legally recognized partnerships aren’t on the horizon. The biggest win for LGBT Costa Ricans was the Costa Rican Social Security System’s decision to extend same-sex partners insurance benefits. LGBT groups have also been participating in roundtable meetings with Vice President Ana Helena Chacón, who announced the creation of several commissions to address LGBT issues. President Solís has previously said he supports parental and property rights for same-sex couples but stopped short of endorsing gay marriage.

“These projects are absolutely vital to comply with human rights so that there are no second-class citizens in this country,” said Vice President Ana Helena Chacón during the same press conference. Casa Presidencial will present its list of bills next Tuesday, Nov. 18.

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