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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:10 am 
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Costa Rica court blocks gay civil union referendum
10 August 2010

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Costa Rica's top court has blocked the electoral tribunal from holding a referendum that would have let voters decide if same-sex civil unions should be allowed in the Central American country.

The Constitutional Court's 5-2 decision released Tuesday says such a referendum would put a minority at a disadvantage in a largely Roman Catholic country. It also says gay civil unions is a legislative issue and not an electoral one.

The court says it considers homosexuals a group that is at a disadvantage and the target for discrimination, requiring government authorities to protect their rights. The electoral tribunal had planned to hold the referendum Dec. 5, when Costa Rica also is holding municipal elections.

Source: Yahoo! AP.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Gay Pride Parade takes to San José streets
Friday, July 1, 2011
By Rommel Téllez

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Jessica Phelps - Marchers pose in Parque la Merced.

Hundreds of gay rights supporters marched through the streets of San José on Sunday to celebrate Gay Pride Festival 2011, one of a host of worldwide celebrations during gay pride month in June.

Marchers took part in a parade featuring musical acts and dances performed on a travelling stage mounted on the back of a truck. They waved signs and chanted slogans demanding tolerance and respect for sexual diversity, as pedestrians on the sidewalks and in shops looked on.

The parade started on Paseo Colon, passed San Juan de Dios Hospital to Avenida 2 and ended across from the Central Park with a flamboyant grand finale of transvestites performing dances, lip-synching and other shows on the traveling stage.

During the activity, singers Maria José Castillo and Eduardo Aguirre, locally famous for their participation in the reality TV singing competition "American Idol," performed a variety of Latin American songs with themes of personal freedom and tolerance. Several drag queens performed choreography to the beat of Lady Gaga songs while interacting with spectators on the sidewalks.

"This event aims to tell the world that we celebrate our own nature," said Geovanni Delgado, one of the event"s organizers. "It is a march for human rights and minorities who deserve a voice." Delgado said the event took two months to organize and was made possible thanks to support from several gay bars in the country, as well as from the San José Municipality and the Public Security Ministry, which provided at least 10 pairs of police officers to direct traffic and protect participants.

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Thalaya poses for the camera at the San José Gay Pride Parade on June 26.
Jessica Phelps

"This parade also aims to celebrate the recent approval of gay marriage in the state of New York," Delgado said. "It"s an achievement for sexual diversity in the world and an important step in our ongoing struggle for tolerance."

Various non-governmental organizations joined the festival to express different messages. TransVida, an agency that seeks to improve quality of life for transsexuals living in at-risk situations, expressed through banners and chanted slogans messages of understanding for people with HIV and the importance of safe sex.

Another organization that joined the activity was Beso Diverso, which organizes protests in front of establishments that discriminate against gay consumers. "I think this activity was very successful and am happy about the many people who came to support us," said Beso Diverso member Paulina Torres. "Such initiatives make people lose fear of expressing their sexuality. I think in the next festival we should include a stronger political tone; we must support human rights on all fronts."

Source: Tico Times.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:25 pm 
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Thousands of ‘Invisibles’ march for equal rights in Costa Rica
Saturday, June 16, 2012

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The “March of the Invisibles” on Saturday morning demanded equal rights for homosexual couples, the establishment of a secular state and the legalization of in vitro fertilization. photo: Gabe Dinsmoor

A couple thousand people in San José demanded equal rights in Costa Rica for issues such as homosexual rights, the establishment of a secular state, the approval of in vitro fertilization and immigrant rights – in a movement called “Marcha de los Invisibles” (“March of the Invisibles”).

A diverse crowd, which included LGBT community members, heterosexual couples, and indigenous rights supporters – marched through the capital Saturday morning to the Legislative Assembly. Two weeks ago, a human rights committee in the assembly rejected a bill that guaranteed economic rights to heterosexual couples. Protesters waved signs calling for respect. Leaders of the march shouted chants through megaphones.

“Morality is personal, human rights are universal.” read a colorful banner carried by the demonstrators. Local police monitoring the event said some 2,000 people attended the rally, although organizers said the number was closer to 5,000. The protest was called in retaliation for the Human Rights Commission vote. Marchers called for the ouster of evangelical legislator Justo Orozco, the head of the commission, whose statements against homosexual rights have caused a stir in the country.

"INJusto [Unfair] Orozco, caveman,” “The problem is not God, it’s Justo.” “Invisible no, here I am,” “I am visible, I have rights.” “We are happy lesbians, and we are here. “Gay, 100 percent human,” read some of the signs.

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Thousands attended a Saturday morning protest in downtown San José demanding equal rights for homosexual couples, the establishment of a secular state and the approval of in vitro fertilization. photo: Gabe Dinsmoor

One of the directors of the march, from a megaphone, shouted “Costa Rica is one of the last confessional states in the world. What an anachronism – I demand a secular state.” While common in the Middle East, countries with an official state religion almost have disappeared from the western hemisphere, although Costa Rica remains a Catholic country. “We are here so that they know that we exist, that we deserve the same rights,” said marcher Ester Molina. “In the country, there is a decline in human rights.”

Lawmakers Carlos Gómgora, Carmen Muñoz and Manuel Monestel joined the movement. They helped scrub the walls of the Legislative Assembly with sponges and soap as marchers chanted about the alleged dirtiness and corruption taking place inside the assembly. Online social networks sparked the movement, almost 15,000 people signed a petition online called FueraJustoOrozco.com. Protesters want Orozco to resign after he referred to homosexuality as a “strange practice” and called it “a sin that has a cure.”

Sexual Diversity Movement President Marco Castillo announced that his organization will report Costa Rica to the international human rights commission for what he considers an “insult” to the rights of the gay community. Orozco also said that he opposes in vitro fertilization – Costa Rica is the only western hemisphere country to prohibit the practice. The legislator said that only high-income individuals would benefit from the technique because infertility is a problem "suffered by the upper class."

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, with its headquarters in San José, will analyze a complaint in September about the prohibition of in vitro fertilization. Costa Rica could face fines for not legalizing the in vitro, which is considered a human rights violation.

Source: AFP via Tico Times.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:36 pm 
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Catholics, evangelicals protest sexual education in Costa Rica schools
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Education Ministry believes a sexual education plan will reduce teenage pregnancies and STDs. Last year, Costa Rica had an estimated 13,500 teen pregnancies.

An evangelical group in Costa Rica has encouraged Christian followers to file constitutional challenges against a plan to teach sexual education in public schools. So far, Costa Ricans have filed more than 2,500 complaints to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, the Judicial Branch's press office said Tuesday.

A statement from the Sala IV said the first appeal arrived on June 26, and that the court has already begun reviewing it, making the other complaints an unnecessary use of resources on the same subject.

Both the Catholic Church and evangelicals have rejected the sexual education lesson plan, which focuses on topics including building self-esteem and ways to prevent pregnancy. In the churches’ opinion the material encourages students to start up sexual relations at a younger age. Authorities, however, believe sex education is essential to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Costa Rica, which last year was 13,500. The material also will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the Education Ministry said.

The Evangelical Alliance, which united the various protesters, threatened to file thousands of legal challenges as a means of exerting pressure so that judicial officials suspend the implementation of the educational program.

“The public should realize that the number of appeals filed on the same subject does not have any influence on the court and whether the ruling would be favorable or unfavorable,” Sala IV judges responded. “The bottom line is based on criteria recognized by the Constitution, and only one appeal is necessary to decide this issue.”

Several previous administrations have tried to strengthen sex-education programs for children and adolescents in schools, but all have faced pressure from the Catholic Church and other religious groups that consider the topic of sexuality an issue exclusive to homes and churches.

Source: Tico Times / AFP.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:40 pm 
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:lies:

Quote:
In the churches’ opinion the material encourages students to start up sexual relations at a younger age.

What? You mean even younger than they already are, at puberty? But then again, the church would want the little ones to be unaware of sexual predators, right?

Quote:
the Catholic Church and other religious groups that consider the topic of sexuality an issue exclusive to homes and churches

Of course, and neither will say a word about it. That's really helpful, yah. Obviously the message of waiting until you're married isn't really sinking in, is it?

Useless morons.

:x

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:47 pm 
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Catholic Church to promote its own sex-ed guides
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bishop José Francisco Ulloa said Costa Rican Education Ministry guides promote concepts the church rejects.

Cartago Bishop José Francisco Ulloa said Wednesday that the Catholic Church will promote its own version of sex-ed guides to be used by youth groups and families. Ulloa explained that church officials will promote their own books, because they failed to reach an agreement with the Education Ministry (MEP) on new sex-ed guides to be used in public schools this year. “They [MEP] believe in concepts like free sexuality, and we don’t,” he added.

Marielos Hernández, head of the Child Welfare Office, on Monday asked the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court to reject more than 4,000 complaints filed against MEP’s sex-ed guides, arguing that the guides “only intend to provide teens with tools for a healthy lifestyle.”

The Catholic sex-ed books were published in 2009 and prohibit the use of contraceptives such as condoms and pills. They also promote chastity and virginity.

Source: Tico Times.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:22 am 
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Costa Rican government to support same-sex unions bill
Monday, August 6, 2012

The Costa Rican government announced Monday afternoon that President Laura Chinchilla would support same-sex unions.

After Presidency Ministry officials met with several gay-rights activists, led by the Diversity Movement, a ministry spokesman said the president would propose legislation that would give economic rights to gay couples in Costa Rica.

An original bill promoting equal rights for gay couples was voted down by a Legislative Assembly committee earlier this summer. However, gay-rights groups had been meeting with government officials to try to gain the administration’s support for the legislation.

The president’s chief of staff, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, told the daily La Nación that the government would support gay unions since the measure does not affect the Family Code, which defines and regulates marriage in the country.

Source: Tico Times.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:31 pm 
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Costa Rica 'accidentally' legalises gay marriage
by Tim Walker
Friday, 5 July 2013

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According to local media reports, on Wednesday President Chinchilla told journalists she would not be vetoing bill telling them: “No, we’re going to go forward and will sign this law." GETTY IMAGES

Conservative lawmakers voted for the bill to pass but later realised that a change in the language could allow gay marriage.

Gay marriage is already legal in over a dozen nations worldwide, but Costa Rica may yet set a remarkable precedent – by being the first to allow same-sex unions by mistake.

This week, the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly voted for a change to its “Law of Young People”, which covers social services and marriage laws. It was only once the bill had passed did unwitting conservative lawmakers realise that their liberal counterparts had inserted language that could open the door to civil unions for gay couples.

The controversial wording was written into the legislation by José María Villalta, a member of the left-wing Frente Amplio party. “During the discussion in the first debate, we explained that the Law of Young People should be interpreted with this sense of opening to gays and no one objected,” Villalta said afterwards. Given the lack of perceived opposition to his amendment, he proceeded to insert it into the bill. The text, which previously stated that only marriages between a man and a woman would be recognised, now extends “the right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity.”

Outraged Christian conservatives have demanded that Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, pictured, veto the legislation when it crosses her desk. But Ms Chinchilla has refused to oppose the bill’s passage. Once the bill is approved by the President, it will likely face challenges in the country’s courts, which it is expected to lose.

Gay rights activists in Costa Rica have nonetheless hailed the week’s events as a turning point for their cause. Marco Castillo, the leader of Movimiento Diversidad (“Diversity Movement”), told the Tico Times, “It’s a big step forward for gay rights in Costa Rica.”

Source: The Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:37 pm 
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Two women risk jail time for same-sex wedding in Costa Rica
9 November 2015

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People take part in a Gay Pride parade in San Jose, on June 30, 2013 (AFP Photo/Hector Retamal)

San José (AFP) - Same-sex weddings may be legal in a small but growing number of countries, but not in Costa Rica where two women who married, and their lawyer, face criminal charges, and having the union annulled.

The director of Costa Rica's Civil Registry, which records all in-country marriages and births, Luis Bolanos, said Monday he was referring the matter to prosecutors and seeking the annulment. The July wedding of Laura Florez-Estrada, a 28-year-old Spanish citizen living in Costa Rica, and Jazmin Elizondo, a 24-year-old Costa Rican, was registered without question because a Civil Registry clerical error on Elizondo's birth certificate gave her gender as "male." Both women said they would take legal action to prevent their union being scrapped, relying on other laws that protect against sexual discrimination.

The statute against same-sex marriages in Costa Rica provides for jail time of between two and six years for those who know they are breaking the law, and the annulment of the marriage. "We believe that these people were aware that a marriage between people of the same sex warrants a complaint, that parts of the Criminal Code might have been broken," Bolanos said. He added that he would be informing Elizondo that the gender mistake on her Registry record had been corrected.

The lawyer who drew up the marriage papers, Marco Castillo, said he had legally wed a woman to a man according to the documents he had. Castillo is also head of the Diversity Movement, which fights for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights in the country.

Twenty countries around the world have made, or are in the process of making, same-sex marriage legal. In the Americas, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina all permit such unions. Some of Mexico's states also have followed suit.

Source: Yahoo! AFP

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