Progress to Marriage Equality (2): Costa Rica

In the US, he path to marriage has been bedevilled by tussles between courts, legislatures and citizens’ ballot initiatives.  The key question: is it fair or constitutionally acceptable to allow a majority to vote  away the rights of a minority? The high profile case here is that of California, with its protracted legal battle over Prop 8.

In Costa Rica, where the country was gearing up for a Prop 8 style referendum on gay marriage, there has been a new twist. Instead of waiting for the outcome and then trying to overturn it, a citizen has successfully petitioned the consitutional court to intervene and prevent the referendum going ahead. This is not a final decision –  this is just a restraining order while the constitutional court deliberates but there could be promise here.

From Inside Costa Rica:

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court Orders A Stop To Same Sex Marriage Referendum

The Sala Constitucional (Constitutional Court) has ordered the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) to suspend the process of the referendum on same sex marriages that was to have been included in the December 2010 municipal elections.

The court order was based on an appeal filed against the referendum.

The Recurso Amparo (appeal) was presented by an individual identified only by the last names, Quirós Salazar, alleging that the referendum violates the rights and freedoms of individuals.

The referendum was to have let the population decide the fate of a proposal for law that would allow same sex marriages in Costa Rica

Opponents to the referendum have argued that leaving the allowing the majority of the population (93%) which is heterosexual would be a constitutional violation of the 7% of the homosexual population.

The Quirós Salazar action argues that there are international declarations that make it clear that there be a respect for the rights of minorities.

The Court order orders the TSE to not continue with its efforts for the referendum while the magistrates of the Sala Constitucional consider the appeal.

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