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Costa Rica latest country to legalize same-sex marriage

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Costa Rica is expected to become the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage early Tuesday when a ruling from its supreme court goes into effect ending the country’s ban.

Couples scheduled ceremonies — mostly private due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some that would be broadcast — to celebrate their unions before judges and notaries after the ban was lifted at midnight.

Costa Rica would become the sixth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following most recently Ecuador, which allowed it last year. It is also permitted in some parts of Mexico.

The issue took center stage in Costa Rica’s 2018 presidential election after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights earlier that year issued an opinion that countries like Costa Rica, which had signed the American Convention on Human Rights, had to move immediately to legalize gay marriage.

It helped propel President Carlos Alvarado to victory over an evangelical candidate, Fabricio Alvarado, who had campaigned against it.

In August 2018, Costa Rica’s supreme court said the country’s ban was unconstitutional and gave the congress 18 months to correct it or it would happen automatically. The Legislative Assembly did not act, so at midnight the law banning same-sex marriage was nullified.

A campaign celebrating the achievement called “I do” planned a series of events including hours of coverage on state television and messages from celebrities, including Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Gia Miranda, director of the “I do” campaign, said coverage would also include historical chapters of the movement in Costa Rica.

“It gives us so much joy,” Miranda said. “The only thing that could win with this is Costa Rica and in general love.” She said it would help decrease discrimination and make the country more prosperous and attractive to tourists.

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