• Squaremouth travel insurance button 468x106
  • Costa Rica Coffee Guide
  • Tico Travel Surfing
  • Costa Rica Real Estate

Same-sex marriage issue shifts presidential elections in Costa Rica

January 31, 2018

Same-sex marriage became a dominant topic at the close of the election season in Costa Rica, where opposition to the issue boosted the presidential chances of an evangelical legislator and led other candidates to adopt a more conservative position.

The topic gained new prominence after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called for its member states, including Costa Rica, to recognize same-sex unions. The ruling was released Jan. 9 and resulted from a consultation by the government of Costa Rica, which hosts the court in San José.

This turn of events put Costa Rica’s conservative tendencies on display.

“We’re speaking about a conservative, religious country,” political scientist Felipe Aguilar, from the University of Costa Rica’s Political Investigation and Studies Center (UCR-CIEP), told AFP.

Aguilar explained that monthly polls conducted by CIEP within the last two years indicate that when it comes to same-sex marriage, the recreational use of marijuana, whether Costa Rica should become a secular state, and abortion in the case of a rape, approximately 65 percent of those consulted expressed opposition, while 35 percent expressed support.

Approximately 80 percent of the population says that religion is important in their lives and 70 percent identify themselves as Catholics, according to the CIEP.

Before the international court’s marriage equality ruling, the political discussion revolved around corruption and increasing homicide indexes.

Those topics boosted the candidacy of the lawyer Juan Diego Castro, the presidential candidate of the tiny National Integration Party (PIN), who focused his campaing on mano dura policies against corruption and crime.

The more traditional and organized political parties that have governed the country in recent decades have struggled to gain support for their candidates in the face of emerging parties that hit a nerve with voters.

Ruling is questioned

According to the international court, same-sex couples must have the same marriage rights as a heterosexual couple.

Following the ruling, candidate Fabricio Alvarado, a representative and Pentecostal preacher, said he would withdraw Costa Rica from the court so the country would not have to comply. This caused a spike in the polls for the conservative candidate.

“Costa Rica is a country of values and principles that we want to continue respecting. We’ll go all the way in defending those principles and defending national sovereignty,” Alavarado said on Monday in a debate broadcast by Radio Monumental.

Independent political scientist Jorge Vega pointed out that the government of current President Luis Guillermo Solís was the first to hoist the flag of sexual diversity, both literally at the Casa Presidencial, and figuratively by promoting policies that allow gay couples to enjoy social security benefits.

“Those elements added to the collective imagination and exploded with the Inter-American Court’s ruling in mid-campaign,” Vega told AFP.

“They’re not fundamental topics for the country, but they touch very sensitive fibers in people because they have to do with their personal beliefs, their vision of the world,” he said.

The topic dominated the news in recent weeks and motivated strong reactions form the Catholic and evangelical churches.

However, the analysts question whether the boost taken by Alvarado’s candidacy is sustainable in a volatile electoral scenario.

“The rise of Fabricio Alvarado reinforces the hypothesis that in this volatile climate, any candidate can rise and go downwards” in the last days of the campaign, Felipe Aguilar said.

None of the 13 candidates appear close to the required 40 percent to win the contest in the first round. A runoff election would take place on April 1.

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica up to 330 coronavirus cases, fourth person recovered
Costa Rica
6248 views
Costa Rica
6248 views

Costa Rica up to 330 coronavirus cases, fourth person recovered

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 30, 2020

Costa Rica has confirmed 330 cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Monday afternoon. The figure marks a…

More than 100,000 layoffs as 40% of Costa Rica’s restaurants close
Costa Rica
159 views
Costa Rica
159 views

More than 100,000 layoffs as 40% of Costa Rica’s restaurants close

AFP and The Tico Times - March 30, 2020

Some 100,000 restaurant workers in Costa Rica have lost their jobs after the closure of more than 40% of the…

News briefs: Start your week with positive stories from Costa Rica
Costa Rica
936 views
Costa Rica
936 views

News briefs: Start your week with positive stories from Costa Rica

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 30, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in Costa Rica, which has declared a State of Emergency and enacted sweeping…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!