Costa Rican government officials made history on Wednesday when it cleared the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage to go into effect this Tuesday, May 26. The country's Legislative Assembly rejected a bid to delay lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in a 33 to 20 vote yesterday, as reported by Gay Star News.
The push for marriage equality was re-ignited in Costa Rica back in 2016, when then-president Luis Guillermo Solis promised to expand LGBTQ+ rights in the nation. Then in November of 2017, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all of its signatory countries, which includes Costa Rica, must legalize same-sex marriage. The following year, the country's Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to prohibit same-sex marriage.
In November of 2018, the Supreme Court justices gave the country's Legislative Assembly 18 months to act before lifting the ban same-sex marriage. If no action was taken by legislators, then marriage equality would automatically be legalized May 26, 2020.
As the deadline drew closer, opposition from conservative lawmakers intensified. Earlier this month, in a sudden, last-ditch effort to delay the ban lift, several conservative lawmakers requested for another postponement of "a minimum of 18 months," citing that dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic was a priority. The tension even resulted in one member of the Assembly physically attacking another.
As Out reported earlier this month, National Liberation Party deputy David Gourzong (one of the conservative lawmakers who petitioned for the delay) became angry after learning of disparaging comments made by Giancarlo Casasola in regards to his vote against the impending law. Gourzong then publicly threatened Casasola and carried out his threats in a violent attack on her fellow legislator.
Though he later issued an apology on Facebook stating that "insults should not lead to violence," Gourzong also announced that he was also filing charges against the man he assaulted. Despite facing legal charges and mounting pressure to resign after the incident, he has refused to bow out gracefully. Shocker.
"I state categorically that I will not resign my seat and that I will face responsibility for my actions," Gourzong wrote in the Facebook post.
Regardless of the right-wing's intense opposition, yesterday's vote rejected the request and cleared the country's last obstacle to marriage equality.