Costa Rica Accidentally Legalized Gay Marriage. Will it Stand?

 Gay rights activists in Costa Rica have hailed the new law as a turning point. (AP Photo)Conservative Costa Rican lawmakers are getting a lesson in the importance of reading the fine print.

They were mortified last week after realizing that they may have accidentally approved language making same-sex unions legal when they passed a piece of legislation.

President Laura Chinchilla signed the bill lat week, governing social services and marriage regulations for young people.

The mostly conservative members of Congress didn't notice that the final version of the bill had changed earlier language that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

After realizing they had approved a bill that "confers social rights and benefits of a civil union, free from discrimination," the lawmakers asked Chinchilla to veto the new law. She refused.

Conservative Congressman Justo Orozco of the Christian Costa Rican Renovation Party said he and other right-wing lawmakers will launch a legal challenge to the new law.

"That law goes against family law and the Costa Rican constitution itself," Orozco said.

The change to the bill was proposed by leftist lawmaker Jose Villalta of the Broad Front Party, who said it was passed unanimously. "The problem is that there are lawmakers who don't read what they are voting on," Villalta said.

Yashin Castrillo, a lawyer, filed an appeal after Chinchilla signed the law Thursday asking the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the Central American country, to recognize his union with his boyfriend.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in more than a dozen nations worldwide. In Latin America, gay marriage is legal in Argentina and Mexico City.

According to Gay Star News, three gay confirmed they would appear in family court to apply for legal recognition of their relationships based on the new law:

One of the couples, Fiorella Bruno and Ana Cristina Binsa, said they were applying in order to have hospital visitation rights, partner benefits for public health insurance and inheritance rights for their son.

‘We’re doing this for him,’ she said, according to the local media.

Meanwhile, in an interview with daily newspaper La Nación, Hugo Barrantes, the Archbishop of San José, called the union of gay people ‘unnatural’ and accused minority groups of ‘imposing’ themselves on the majority.

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