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Chinchilla signs Accidental Civil Unions bill

Timothy Kincaid

July 5th, 2013

The bill which passed the Costa Rica legislature this week which may (or may not) allow for same-sex civil unions has been signed. (La Nacion)

“Ya fue firmada y se ordenó la publicación”, dijo ayer el ministro de Comunicación, Carlos Roverssi, con respecto a la ley que, a criterio de algunos diputados y activistas pro derechos gais, podría validar las uniones homosexuales.

Google Translate

“It was signed and ordered its publication”, said yesterday the Minister of Communication, Carlos Roverssi, with respect to the law that, in the opinion of some deputies and gay rights activists, could validate homosexual unions.

Inquiries have been filed with the nation’s courts to determine whether rights, benefits and obligations of marriage will be granted to same-sex couples.



July 5th, 2013 | LINK

This is good news and all, but I just can’t see it without getting in my head the moment on Jeopardy! when, in a category where all answers contain a body part, the contestant was shown a picture of a chinchilla and said “titmouse.”

July 6th, 2013 | LINK

I’m a long term BTB reader and fan, but I have to object to the way that this news is being portrayed in the English language media.

There was nothing accidental about the insertion of the language into a bill that will allow same sex couples to enter into civil unions. There was nothing accidental about the strategy of exploiting lazy right wing politicians’ propensity to vote without reading for detail. And there is certainly nothing accidental about President Chinchilla’s refusal to veto the law because the right wingers didn’t realize what they’d done and demanded do-overs.

The “oops, we made gay marriage legal” headlines suggest a really good story. But that is not the story here. The real story is how a clever and deft group of pro-equality activists and legislators achieved their goals.

These headlines suggest a banana republic where the complications and gamesmanship of politics are take a back seat to the languid tropical heat. This is certainly not the case. For those who don’t know, Costa Rica has one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the Americas.

I know it’s not intentional, but this story line isn’t just misleading, it activates a lot of harmful stereotypes that keep us from seeing and understanding politics in this region of the world.


Oh, and three cheers for Costa Rica.

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