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Gay wedding planned in Costa Rica following court ruling for marriage equality

January 17, 2018

A Venezuelan and a Costa Rican plan to marry in Costa Rica this weekend following last week’s Inter-American Human Rights Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

Mario Arturo Arias, 28, told AFP that on Saturday night he will marry his partner, Roberth Castillo, 25, of Venezuela, at a gay bar in San José – even though he can’t be sure how the country’s authorities will respond when the couple attempts to register the marriage.

“Saturday will be a party,” said Arias, who is a computer engineer. “We’ll celebrate love, freedom and equality before the law. We hope it’ll be a very festive and romantic moment.”

The Inter-American Human Rights Court published an opinion Jan. 9 stating that all of its signatory countries should provide gay couples with the same legal rights to marriage as heterosexual couples.

The Court’s advisory ruling, which is binding for the signatory countries of the American Convention of Human Rights, adds that that protection goes beyond the right to marry, and covers all rights assigned to heterosexual couples in each country’s internal legislation.

“The advisory opinions have a binding character, and are above the constitution when it’s about conceding or amplifying rights. In this case, equal marriage is valid in Costa Rica,” Arias said.

Saturday’s ceremony will be held before a notary who, according to local legislation, will then have eight days to enroll the marriage in the Civil Registry.

Arias admitted that he is not sure whether the Registry will accept the marriage. However, if the registration is denied, “we’ll take it through the corresponding judicial paths,” he said.

In 2015, the Costa Rican woman Yazmín Elizondo and her partner Laura Flórez-Estrada, of Spain, were able to marry in Costa Rica because a clerical error at the Civil Registry resulted in Elizondo being listed as a man in government records.

When the error was discovered, officials from the Civil Registry tried to annul the marriage, which generated a legal battle that hasn’t yet been resolved.

Arias and Castillo started their relationship online and have been living together for almost three years.

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