San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
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Costa Rica files criminal complaint against same-sex couple who married due to clerical error

The director of Costa Rica’s Civil Registry has filed a criminal complaint alleging unlawful marriage against two women who were wed here in July because the registry mistakenly had listed one of them as a man. A complaint also was filed against the couple’s public notary, the registry official announced on Monday.

“We believe that the people [involved in the case] were aware that marriage between people of the same sex warrants a complaint to be filed,” Civil Registry Director Luis Bolaños said. “Articles of [Costa Rica’s] Penal Code could have been violated.”

Laura Florez-Estrada and Jazmín Elizondo were married on July 25 by notary Marco Castillo, who inscribed the act in the Civil Registry.

Florez-Estrada, 28, was born in Peru, has Spanish nationality and has lived in Costa Rica for six years. She is the sister of José María Villalta, a former lawmaker and 2014 presidential candidate for the Broad Front Party. Elizondo, 24, is a Costa Rican, and due to a clerical error has been listed her entire life in the Civil Registry as a man. Castillo heads the pro-LGBT rights group Movimiento Diversidad.

Former presidential candidate José María Villalta was a parade marshal for Costa Rica’s Diversity March in 2014.

Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times

Due to the registry error, it was the first time in Costa Rica that a same-sex marriage was formally acknowledged by the government. In a separate case, a judge had previously legally acknowledged a same-sex civil union between two men based on a youth law that prohibits discrimination.

According to Bolaños, Costa Rica’s Criminal Code calls for a prison sentence of up to six years for those convicted of unlawful marriage. He said he would ask the Government Attorney’s Office to request a judge to annul the marriage. He added that Elizondo would be notified on Monday that the Civil Registry error that lists her as a man would be corrected.

The couple, however, has vowed to legally fight those actions in order to set a legal precedent for same-sex couples in Costa Rica.

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i believe that we are the pinacle of the end of times and the devil is quick in his delusions… God i believe is angry at satan deceptions… gay.. same sex… lebianism are all the product of the wicked one and men and women involved need God’s deliverance from such and attack… costa rica are doing so good in trying to stop the wickedness.. thanks… Apostle Jon Possessors Bajon from Nigeria.

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