LGBT Rights Rise in Catholic Latin America

Costa Rica makes a landmark ruling for LGBT rights.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a human rights court in Costa Rica, said on January 10 Latin American countries should legalize all unions between couples of same sex. This judgment endorses marriage equality even in the face of opposition from the powerful Roman Catholic Church. The ruling was a response to a petition by Luis Guillermo Solis, the President of Costa Rica, in 2016. The president had pledged to increase the rights of transgender, lesbian, bisexual, and gay people in the predominantly Catholic nation.

Anna Helena Chacon, the Vice-President of Costa Rica, had welcomed this ruling of the court. She assured the judiciary that the decision will be totally adopted. A few signatory countries of the Human Rights court have already given their assent when it comes to recognition of same-sex marriages. Many countries recognize same-sex civil unions. Many countries like Bolivia, Peru. Paraguay and the Dominican Republic does not give any kind of recognition to such marriages. These countries, however, are expected to change laws to accommodate the same.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was formed from Organization of American States or simply OAS. The court is a signatory to Inter-America Convention on Human Rights. It is bound by the latter’s rulings. Following Costa Rica’ footsteps, Michelle Bachelet, the outgoing president of Chile, had dispatched to the Chilean Congress so that the matter be scrutinized for much debate.

The judges said that the government should recognize all rights and guarantee the same which comes from a family bond that exists between people belonging to same sex. They said that it will be discriminatory and hence inadmissible for distinct legal provision which will then be created only for the same-sex marriages. They demanded that the government must guarantee access to all the existing kinds of domestic legal systems. This includes all marriage rights. Such a step will ensure that same-sex family rights will be present sans any kind of discrimination.

The judges have recognized the inevitable difficulty of passing laws in nations where the dominant mood goes against same-sex marriage. It has recommended that the governments pass the temporary decrees until the new legislation comes into effect. Costa Rica has asked whether it will permit the transgender individuals to change names present on their respective identity documents. The ruling of the court, in this case, was also an affirmative one.

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