Marriage update – Central America and the Caribbean
January 25th, 2013
It’s getting marriagey all over the place. And it’s also getting hard to keep track of what is going on where. So here is an update to help (which will probably be outdated by the time I hit “publish”).
Costa Rica - Gay Rights advocates met last month with the administration to discuss a proposal to provide specific couple benefits. It may be early yet to know how far or how quickly this could go, but it was a positive step. There is a strong opposition coming from (can you imagine?) the Catholic Church.
Other than Costa Rica, the outlook on same-sex couple rights in Central American looks dim.
In many of the Caribbean Islands, LGBT people live in a state of oppression, often subjected to social ostracization and occasional violence. There are a few bright spots.
Since 2009, the Dutch islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire have recognized same-sex marriages conducted in the Netherlands. But last month the tiny island of Saba finalized changes to their laws to become the first Caribbean Island to offer marriages. The other five are expected to follow.
Costa Rica anti-marriage initiative declared unconstitutional
August 10th, 2010
The Catholic Church in Costa Rica, though a political organization they sponsor, had collected enough signatures to put a proposition on the ballot to ban recognition of same-sex couples. The supreme court of that country has now declared that proposition unconstitutional. (Nacion)
The Constitutional Court was brought down on the referendum on the draft law on same-sex, which was scheduled for December.
By a majority of five votes, the Constitutional Court upheld the protections that have accrued against the decision of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of collecting signatures to organize such a referendum.
On the merits, the majority considered that the rights of minorities that arise from anti-majoritarian claims can not be subjected to a referendum process that is all about majority.
This does not mean that the court ruled for marriage equality. Indeed, in 2006 the court ruled that there was no constitutional right to same-sex marriage. However, the legislature is considering civil unions, and this clears their way to do so unencumbered by a reversing referendum.
Costa Rica’s marriage ban referrendum challenged
July 6th, 2010
An organization opposed to civil equality of gay people in Costa Rica has gathered signatures to place a referendum on the December 2010 ballot which would disallow same-sex civil unions. In a heavily Catholic country, gay rights supporters fear that the Catholic Church – which is becoming increasingly hostile to gay people around the world – would be able to influence the vote.
Last week, the nation’s highest court directed the election board to respond to a challenge to this referendum. (ticotimes)
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) has given the Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) three days to address a challenge relating to a referendum on same-sex civil unions.
The challenge was filed by longtime civil servant Esteban Quirós, who questioned the validity of addressing human rights issues enshrined in international treaties in a referendum. He said Costa Rica is bound by international conventions that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In Costa Rica, the provisions of international treaties supersede all national laws except the Constitution.
Same-sex couples have a better chance of recognition for their relationships from legislative efforts as many politicians, including the president, are supportive.