Marriage equality is coming to Costa Rica by the end of this month.
Q Costa Rica reports that the Central American's country's civil registry will begin processing marriage applications from same-sex couples on May 26.
An officiant there, Luis Guillermo Chinchilla assured the LGBTQ+ news magazine that "significant efforts" have been made to update the office's computer systems to accommodate the new registrations and there will be no delays due to the current health crisis.
The road to marriage equality in Costa Rica was made possible by two prior judicial rulings. In 2016, Costa Rica's then-president Luis Guillermo Solis promised to expand LGBTQ+ rights in the nation. To that end, he asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose, to rule on marriage equality. Two years later, that court ruled that all its signatory countries must grant same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex ones.
However, it was not the last step for same-sex marriage. The Superior Notarial Council of Costa Rica refused to issue licenses until the Supreme Court or legislative assembly lifted the nation's legal ban on the practice.
In August 2018, the Supreme Court, after hearing several cases, voted to lift the ban — with a caveat. Legislators had 18 months to legalize same-sex marriage after the court's ruling was published on November 26, 2018. If no action was taken, then marriage equality would automatically become the law of the land after that period.
May 26, 2020 marks the end of the eighteen-month time limit and the beginning of marriage equality in Costa Rica. As of Tuesday, 54 registration requests for same-sex marriages are already pending, reports Q Costa Rica. The time for processing a registration can take from 10 to 15 business days, according to Chinchilla.