May 1, 2008
Costa Rica backs International Day Against Homophobia
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Gay activists have welcomed the decision of the government of Costa Rica to officially recognise IDAHO Day on May 17. The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is marked in over 50 countries on the anniversary of the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. The President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Dr Oscar Arias Sanchez and the Health Minister, Maria Luisa Avila. said that public institutions in the Latin American nation must "facilitate, promote and support activities directed at the eradication of homophobia." The health minister emphasised that homophobia had been a constraint for those who want to fight against AIDS.
This achievement was due to the work of the LGBT Rights Organisation, CIPAC who declared “this decision will help to eradicate the norms and social practice which favour rejection and discrimination of those who only want to use, at a sexual level, their right to self determination : moreover this decision will encourage conviviality, peace, and social justice”. Louis-Georges Tin, founder of IDAHO congratulated CIPAC and the President of the Republic for this “remarkable achievement”. IDAHO is now officially recognised by the European Parliament, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and several provinces of Canada, Brazil and Spain. IDAHO-UK campaigners are busily preparing for May 17th, with the aid of winning posters designed by students at the University of Arts, London, for other events and campaigns.
Among the diverse events taking place across the country:
In Woking, Quake Nightclub and Surrey Police are sponsoring an event expected to be attended by 500. The London Hotel in Southampton, in conjunction with Southampton City Council and the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Police, is sponsoring an evening of entertainment, with donations on the door going to local victim support.
In Dorset staff from the Over the Rainbow LGBT centre working closely with local police will be trying to persuade the public that "Homophobia Sucks" by giving out lollypops with this message in Bournemouth Town Centre.
The Intercom Trust have launched an IDAHO Picnic and Anti-Homophobia Cake Competition and will be arranging picnics in Exeter and elsewhere in the South West to celebrate positive achievements in counteracting homophobia and reflecting on what still needs to be done at home and abroad.
Scotland will also host an array of IDAHO events, including an IDAHO Youth Activism Event and a Playwrights Theatre Performance on IDAHO day itself. Glasgow Council are the first council to announce that they will be raising the rainbow flag for IDAHO day. It is hoped that, as was the case last year, many councils will follow their example.
For details of events and posters, and contact information click here.
July 31, 2008
Costa Rican Christians protest against gay marriage
by Phoebe Ferris-Rotman
Last Saturday some 20,000 people from around Costa Rica dressed in white t-shirts paraded down a main street in San José to express their opposition to a legislative proposal to make gay marriage legal. The Legislative Assembly’s commission on human rights is currently studying a proposal that would legalise same-sex unions. "We are making a call to legislators against the proposal that is currently before the Legislative Assembly, that would consent the union of homosexuals," march participant Reynaldo Salazar said, according to CostaRicapages.com.
The march was organised by the Costa Rican Evangelical Alliance two weeks after the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica made a formal plea to lawmakers, asking them to reject a law that would grant gay civil unions the same legal status as marriage. In their formal plea the Bishops warned that politicians "cannot and should not legislate against correct reasoning, because if they pass the law, it would loose moral force.
"Laws favourable to homosexual unions are contrary to correct reasoning because they confer legal guarantees proper to the institution of marriage to unions between people of the same sex. Considering the values in question, the State cannot legalize these unions without failing in its duty to promote and protect an essential institution for the common good, which marriage is." Although Costa Rica has a substantial level of gay tourism such as gay-only resorts, the Roman Catholic Church wields considerable influence.
4 December 2008
America/Costa Rica – Letter from Catholic Action to the country’s representatives in government: “The conservation of Christian values of respect for human life and the family, falls under your responsibility.”
Costa Rica (Agenzia Fides) – The Archdiocesan Catholic Action group (FAAC) of the Archdiocese of San Jose (Costa Rica), has sent a letter to the senior members of Parliament, asking that they conserve and defend authentic marriage between a man and a woman and human life from conception until natural death.
Firstly, they remind the politicians that Article 75 of the Constitution states that “the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Religion is that of the State, which contributes to its maintenance, without impeding the freedom of worship for other religions, as long as they do not oppose universal moral code and healthy customs.” This article “introduces the Christian values in the vision of the country, for all Costa Ricans and especially our representatives, who by the will of the people (the majority of whom are Christian), declare laws in this perspective.” Thus, they are encouraged to “give great importance to this task, especially in the draft bills on the family and respect for life, that are now underway.”
They also remind them of the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, which has been “the basis for transmission of values for thousands of years.” Thus, they are asked not to make laws that go against this principle, so that “marriage between a man and a woman may continue being the basis of Costa Rican society, in which the presence of a man and a woman is the ideal living environment of a family in order to conserve those values based on God’s love for us and the Incarnate Mercy, who is Christ.”
Another issue that they propose for consideration of the representatives is that of defense of life from the moment of conception. The Constitution itself, in Article 21 establishes that human life begins at conception, “however, in recent years, a culture of death and libertinism has been manifest in society, in which each person is free to do whatever they want with their body.” “The Church,” the letter continues, “faithful to the Lord’s command, has always spoken out on and defended the sacred value of the life of every human being and, in addition, has promoted programs to support women and families.” The letter also states that abortion “has not only not solved problems…it has opened another wound in our society.”
Thus, the members of Catholic Action make a call to unite efforts so that “various institutions may once again focus on the defense of human life and make the family a priority. Families need to be assisted with all the legislative instruments available, in order to encourage their role as educators in raising children, in the difficult environment of modern society.”
“We are in a crucial moment of the country’s life, in which the conservation of Christian values of respect for human life and the family, falls under your responsibility. We encourage you to make an appeal to people’s consciences, so that our Costa Rica may be an example for the world of how to promote and declare laws that confirm our democracy in the highest ethical and moral principles,” they state in their final exhortation addressed to the country’s legal representatives.
February 8. 2010 – Passport Magazine
Costa Rica’s First Woman President Doesn’t Want Gay Marriage
Laura Chinchilla became Costa Rica’s first female president yesterday. Where exactly does Chinchilla stand on gay rights and gay marriage? Well, she doesn’t agree with calling a same-sex couple married, but she has promised to work for equal rights for gay couples. Check out her campaign video.
March 1st, 2010 – GlobalVoices
Costa Rica: Granting Rights for Same-Sex Couples
by Luis Diego Molina
In Costa Rica, the issue of same-sex relationships has been an active topic for the past several years, but little progress has been made in terms of establishing an official policy. In a country with Roman Catholicism as the official Constitutional religion and with a large majority conservative population, it has been a controversial topic with supporters and opponents on both sides of the issue.
After several attempts to bring the issue to the legislative level, the most recent proposal called Coexistence Societies, which can be read here in Spanish, does not seek to legalize same-sex marriage, but seeks to offer alternatives for these couples. The text is based on four basic points [es], which include hospital visitation rights, dividing of earned wealth, inheritance rights, and insurance options.
During the presidential campaign, Laura Chinchilla of the National Liberation Party (PLN), who was elected on February 7, 2010 promised to support same-sex unions as an alternative to marriage, as she expressed in this video [es]. However, shortly after she was elected and after meetings with Assembly deputies from the Christian-aligned parties and with Evangelical Christian leaders, she hardened her position towards the proposal of same-sex unions [es].
March 2010 – Costa Rica Pages
Thousands March Against Gay Civil Unions in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for being gay-friendly, offering gay-only resorts and tourism locales, gay-friendly restaurants and bars, gay clubs, and many other gay-friendly options. However, it seems that homosexual rights end where the money stops: a recently proposed law to allow gay civil unions has been greeted by religious opposition and protests.
Two weeks ago, the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica made its formal plea to Costa Rica’s lawmakers, asking them to reject a law that would grant gay civil unions the same legal status as marriage. The bishops explained that, according to Christian law, the family — one mother, one father — is the basis of civil society. Though they respect homosexuals, the Catholic Church cannot agree to view their unions as equal to those between a man and a woman.
In their formal appeal, the bishops warned that politicians “cannot and should not legislate against correct reasoning, because if they pass the law, it would loose moral force.” They continued, saying that “laws favorable to homosexual unions are contrary to correct reasoning because they confer legal guarantees proper to the institution of marriage to unions between people of the same sex. Considering the values in question, the State cannot legalize these unions without failing in its duty to promote and protect an essential institution for the common good, which marriage is.”
Unlike the United States, for example, Costa Rica’s official religion is Catholicism, and there is no forced separation between church and state. Many of the country’s laws are influenced by Christianity and the bishops, though not the country’s lawmakers, have a fair bit of influence in shaping Costa Rica’s morality and morally-based laws, such as gay marriage and abortion, which is also illegal.
The bishops emphasized that they do respect gay rights, but believe that legalizing gay rights — gay marriage — would interfere with the rights of family. “It is necessary above all to reflect on the differences between homosexual behavior as a private phenomenon and public behavior, legally tested, approved and converted into an institution of legal order. The second phenomenon is not only more grave but also of greater and deeper scope, as it could entail changes contrary to the common good of the entire social order… Civil laws are structural principles of man’s life in society, for good or for evil.”
The bishops called for “Catholic lawmakers to speak out and vote against this measure, and to those who do not share our faith, to examine the arguments we have laid out. And in conformity with the rules of correct reasoning, of human nature and of life in society, not to cast their vote for a bill that clearly goes against the common good of the residents of our country.” In response to their words, not only have Catholic lawmakers united, but yesterday, more than 20,000 people congregated on Paseo Colón, marching against gay civil unions.
The protest march began at 8 a.m. in front of the Hospital San Juan de Dios, and finished around noon in La Sabana park. The march was organized by the Costa Rican Evangelical Alliance, bringing together religious Costa Ricans from around the country. “We’re calling out against the law that the Legislative Assembly is considering, to allow for homosexual civil unions,” explained march participant, Reynaldo Salazar.
The bill was first introduced by the homosexual community in 2006, but was placed on the back burner until recently. Only time will tell if Costa Rica will legally recognize gay civil unions, but it promises to be a contentious topic, splitting the country down its religious center. Despite the doubt that Costa Rica will condone legal rights for civil unions, it remains to be a tolerant country with a strong gay population, with budding industry focused on gay(http://www.costaricapages.com/guide/gay-travel/) Travel to Costa Rica.
August 11, 2010 – PinkNews
Costa Rica court says no to referendum on civil unions
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has ruled against allowing a referendum on whether gay couples should be permitted to have civil unions. The referendum was supported by Catholic groups but the court said that the majority should not decide the rights of a minority. Instead, the court said, such rights should be granted by politicians and the courts.
According to AFP, the ruling stated: "Minority rights that are derived from claims against the majority cannot be subject to a referendum process where majorities are needed."
Costa Rica, which is a Catholic country, was expected to reject civil unions in the vote which was to be held in December. Civil unions legislation was introduced in 2008 but has stalled. In its current form, the draft legislation would offer gay couples some of the rights available to heterosexuals, such as those related to inheritance, health insurance and hospital visits. The court’s decision cannot be appealed.