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Clerical error led to Costa Rica’s first legal same-sex marriage

Castillo said it was telling that officials apparently fast-tracked the review when similar cases of mistakenly recorded gender can languish for decades.

“One woman waited 60 years for them to make the change for her, and she couldn’t even register the children to whom she gave birth,” said Castillo, who also heads the gay marriage activism group Diversity Movement. “Meanwhile in our case, it didn’t take them two days.”

According to Costa Rican law, knowingly entering into a marriage where there is an impediment carries a possible prison sentence of six months to three years.

While Elizondo and Florez-Estrada await possible prosecution, the Constitutional Court is considering the case of another gay couple, whose relationship was recognized as a “de facto union” by a family judge July 2.

Several versions of a bill proposing to recognize same-sex unions have also been presented in congress, sparking fierce opposition from political parties with religious ties.

Lawmaker Abelino Esquivel dismissed Elizondo and Florez-Estrada’s marriage as a stunt, a “desperate act by the gay community” to legitimize something that is not recognized by law.

“The principle of uniting couples is so that they can reproduce, and as far as we know today, after practically having traveled to the planet Mars, nobody has yet discovered that two people of the same sex can reproduce,” Esquivel told the newspaper La Prensa Libre.

Florez-Estrada said the couple knew they could face legal problems if they went public with their marriage but decided to do so anyway.

“We had to make public that it was not our mistake. It is a question of basic rights,” she said. “If we’re all equal on paper, why can’t I get married?”

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