Costa Rica, Central America

While homosexuality has been technically legal (since the 1870's), but police harassment and raids of LGBT people and private establishments was commonplace in the past. The government did not want to grant legal recognition to political organizations seeking to advance LGBT rights. These policies started to change in the 1990s, when the Costa Rica Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution gave LGBT people the right to peacefully assembly, associate, create their own private establishments, as well as their own LGBT rights associations. Such rulings have led Costa Rica to develop the reputation of being the most democratic and liberal of the Central American countries. Costa Ricans to be proud of the uniqueness of their country.

It has recently become welcoming to LGBT people with its friendly, "live-and-let-live" attitude toward sexual matters. On March 27, 2008 the president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, signed an executive order designating May 17 as the National Day Against Homophobia, committing Costa Rica to join others around the world in working to eradicate bias against gays and lesbians. There is a vibrant nightlife scattered in San Jose consisting of discos, saunas, night clubs, cafes and bars for gay or gay friendly.



Ruling Legalizing Gay Marriage In Costa Rica Takes Effect Tuesday

Conservative lawmakers in Costa Rica are attempting to block a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage from taking effect on Tuesday. Costa Rica’s constitutional court in 2018 struck down the nation’s ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying. The court’s majority opinion gave lawmakers 18 months to change the law. Otherwise its ruling would take effect on… Read more »

Same-sex marriage has finally been legalised in Costa Rica

Equal marriage has finally been legalised in Costa Rica, with the first-ever same-sex marriage registrations to be processed at the end of this month. According to Q Costa Rica, the country’s Civil Registry will begin processing the registrations on May 26. Official Luis Guillermo Chinchilla told the publication that everything had been prepared, and said:… Read more »

Costa Rica says YES to marriage equality and transgender rights

The IACHR has issued a landmark ruling stating that Costa Rica must guarantee same-sex couples have equal rights and have given transgender individuals rights to name and gender change on official documents. On Tuesday, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a landmark ruling that recognises same-sex marriage and transgender rights in Costa-Rica. The… Read more »

One step closer to equality for LGBTI people in Costa Rica

President signs in decrees which include housing benefits and greater recognition of same-sex couples Costa Rica has passed a number of measures which grant various legal and welfare rights to the LGBTI community. The decrees were signed into effect by President Carlos Alvarado on Friday (December 21). The new measures allows same-sex couples in Costa… Read more »

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court Rules Nation’s Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Costa Rica’s constitutional court has struck down the nation’s ban on same-sex marriage. According to Reuters, the court’s majority opinion, made public Thursday, will take effect in 18 months. In January, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) called for marriage equality in the region. As a signatory country, Costa Rica is bound by the… Read more »

Costa Rica’s top court rules against gay marriage ban

Bogota (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Costa Rica’s top court has ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a decision seen as a win for gay rights activists and welcomed by the country’s new president. The Supreme Court gave lawmakers up to 18 months to legalize gay marriage, which has long been opposed by… Read more »

Costa Ricans Reject Presidential Candidate Who Opposes Same-Sex Marriage

Costa Rican voters on Sunday rejected a presidential candidate who rose to political prominence by campaigning against marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. According to The Washington Post, Carlos Alvarado of the ruling Citizen Action Party received 60.8 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Christian evangelical pastor Fabricio Alvarado of the National Restoration… Read more »

Lesbian couple face up to six years in jail – just for getting married

Two women face up to six years in jail for holding a same-sex marriage in Costa Rica – despite a ban. Laura Florez-Estrada and Jazmin Elizondo successfully registered their marriage in over the summer. Although same-sex marriage is banned in the country, the pair were able to marry due to a 24-year-old clerical error that… Read more »

Taboo on LGBT blood donation lingers, according to survey

A new survey from the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights in Central America (CIPAC) released Tuesday suggested that Costa Ricans overwhelmingly oppose discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but many prejudices still exist. Despite 90 percent support for equal rights for the LGBT community regardless of their sexual orientation, a… Read more »

Dismantling Costa Rica’s lesbian and gay closet

Luis Guillermo Solís has barely begun his presidency and already the LGBTI communities have much to celebrate. For one, Solís is the first president of Costa Rica who has familiarity with the gay nightlife of San José. Or at least he is the first president willing to publicly admit it. In January on Costa Rica’s… Read more »

Costa Rican’s Laura Chinchilla Signs Bill Possibly Legalizing Gay Civil Unions

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has signed a bill which could extend some benefits associated with marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Daily La Nacion reported on Friday that Chinchilla had signed the bill into law. The Legislative Assembly approved the measure on Monday. After gay rights groups hailed passage as a victory, conservative lawmakers… Read more »

Opponents Block Debate On Gay Unions In Costa Rica

Lawmakers opposed to gay rights on Tuesday blocked debate of a civil unions bill in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly. Opponents called 3 15-minute recesses in a row as lawmakers attempted to debate the bill, prompting the chamber’s president, Victor Emilio, to table the discussion and bring the evening session to a close. Two years ago,… Read more »

Costa Rica to develop HIV strategies to reach male sex workers

The Minister of Health of Costa Rica, Dr Daisy Corrales, aims to strengthen the AIDS response among key populations at higher risk in her country, which is where the epidemic remains concentrated. During a meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on 6 November at the UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva, Dr Corrales highlighted the focus… Read more »

Razzia violenta en discoteca gay de Costa Rica

San Jose – (La Nacion) El aparente uso de fuerza excesiva en un operativo policial realizado en la discoteca homosexual Club Oh!, el 13 de abril levantó críticas y motivó denuncias. Representantes del centro nocturno dijeron que más de 20 funcionarios de la Fuerza Pública y la Policía Municipal ingresaron armados al establecimiento, lo que… Read more »

Costa Rica’s LGBT community mourns death of leader

A friend pays his respects to LGBT leader Abelardo Araya, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday. Araya helped found the Movimiento Diversidad (Diversity Movement), a political group that worked to promote LGBT rights in Costa Rica. Renowned Costa Rican LGBT activist Abelardo Araya died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at the age… Read more »

Gay Costa Rica News & Reports

1 Costa Rica backs International Day Against Homophobia 5/08 2 Costa Rican Christians protest against gay marriage 7/08 3 Letter from Catholic Action to the country’s representatives in government 12/08 4 Costa Rica’s First Woman President Doesn’t Want Gay Marriage 2/10 5 Costa Rica: Granting Rights for Same-Sex Couples 2/10 6 Thousands March Against Gay… Read more »