Costa Rica lawmakers mistakenly vote to legalize same-sex unions

Costa Rica lawmakers mistakenly vote to legalize same-sex unions

Update, 7/5/13:
Costa Rica’s president Laura Chinchilla has signed the bill into law. Story here.

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Lawmakers in Costa Rica have accidentally voted to amend a law that could legalize same-sex civil unions in the Central American country.

The country’s Legislative Assembly voted Monday to amend the country’s Family Code, striking down the legal definition of a union as only between a man and a woman.

The bill now states that a civil union is recognized “without discrimination contrary to human dignity, social and economic effects of domestic partnerships that constitute publicly, notoriously unique and stable, with legal capacity for marriage for more than three years.”

Several conservative lawmakers, including Evangelical Manrique Oviedo, said they voted for the bill without realizing its legal impact.

The bill requires a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court before being signed into law by president Laura Chinchilla.

If ruled legal and signed, experts say the change in the country’s Family Code would effectively allow same-sex unions.

Conservative lawmakers insisted that the bill should be interpreted as referring to heterosexual couples only and demanded Costa Rica’s president Laura Chinchilla to veto the bill.

Chinchilla rejected their calls stating: “No, we’re going to go forward and will sign this law. 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,” in video posted today by

Costa Rica’s Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi confirmed the president’s statement, according to the daily La Nación.

If ruled legal, Costa Rica will become the first Central American nation to recognize same-sex unions.

In Latin America as a whole, five countries have already recognized gay civil unions; Argentina and Uruguay have full marriage equality, while Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador recognize same-sex unions.

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