Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Bill Could Prohibit Marriage for Minors

July 28, 2006

A bill to reform the country’s Family, Civil and Penal codes could prohibit Costa Ricans under 15 years old from getting married, the daily La Nación reported. Supporters of the bill claim this type of marriage disguises sexual abuse.

As Mario Víquez, executive president of the Child Welfare Office (PANI) pointed out, Costa Rica’s Penal Code establishes that having sexual relations with minors less than 15 years of age is a crime, and constitutes rape if the child is less than 12 years old. However, in a marriage this does not apply (see separate article).

Bill supporters argue children should worry about their education, not about dealing with a marriage partner.

Citizen Action Party (PAC) legislator Andrea Morales, who presides over the Youth, Childhood and Adolescence legislative committee, will request transfer of this bill to her committee for study and push for a higher spot for it on the legislative agenda.

Last year, 18 marriages took place in which one of the partners was younger than 15. Article 16 of the Family Code says children can get married with their parents’ consent.

 

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