While Costa Rica is the first country in Central America to allow same-sex marriage, it’s the sixth in Latin America

By Rachel DeSantis
May 26, 2020 10:49 AM
Alexandra Quiros and Dunia Araya get married in Costa Rica
| Credit: EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP via Getty Images

Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage on Tuesday, nearly two years after the country’s supreme court declared its gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

The ban was lifted at midnight, and many couples celebrated the historic moment by tying the knot as soon as they could in ceremonies that were broadcast on state TV as part of a campaign called “I Do,” the Associated Press reported.

“It gives us so much joy,” the campaign’s director Gia Miranda told the outlet. “The only thing that could win with this is Costa Rica and in general, love.”

Costa Rica’s same-sex marriage ban was automatically nullified, as congress was given 18 months to lift it and did not act after the supreme court declared it unconstitutional and discriminatory in August 2018, according to the AP.

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That ruling came several months after President Carlos Alvarado Quesada took office following a campaign that reportedly supported gay marriage, while his opponent campaigned against it.

Enrique Sanchez, the country’s first openly gay congressman, told Reuters that he believes the legalization represents the end of a long fight.

“With their experience, their struggles … they have helped build a society where there are no second-class families or second-rate people,” he said.

While Costa Rica is the first country in Central America to allow same-sex marriage, it’s the sixth in Latin America, following Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and parts of Mexico.

President Quesada celebrated the news on Twitter shortly after the ban was automatically nullified at midnight.

“Today we celebrate freedom, equality and democratic institutions. May empathy and love be the compass that allows us to get ahead and build a country where all the people fit,” he wrote.