Costa Rica causes controversy by ‘accidentally’ legalising gay marriage

Jose Maria Villalta with Laura ChinchillaCentral American nation Costa Rica has worried conservative legislators by passing a bill which ‘accidentally’ legalises gay marriage.

The ‘Law of Young People’, concerning social rights, was passed earlier this week. Left-wing politician José María Villalta inserted an amendment which increased rights for gay people and appeared to extend the benefits to civil marriages within the country to same sex couples.

He insists this was explained to fellow legislators during the debate:

“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.”

But right wing politicians only realised the implications the following day according to reports. They have since called on President Laura Chinchilla to veto the legislation.

Justo Orozco Álvarez, president of the Christian Costa Rican Renovation Party said homosexuality was “not a right” but “a stunted development of sexual identity”.

But President Chincilla has already said she will not be vetoing the bill. “We’re going to go forward and will sign this law.”

She added:

“We understand that the debate is over how some interpret the law and this alone is not sufficient for the executive to veto the law.”

Photo of José María Villalta and President Laura Chinchilla by Casa Presidencial via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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