By: Amanda Froelich,
Even if it was not premeditated, a bill passed for equal rights is a win nonetheless. This is what recently happened in Costa Rica, the nation deemed the ‘happiest in the world’, and now for more reason than previously thought.
While over a dozen of other nations have already legalized same-sex marriage, Costa Rica may be the first that has passed the law by ‘mistake’.
This week, Costa Rican Legislative Assembly voted for a change to its “Law of Young People”, which covers social services and marriage laws. It was after the bill had passed that conservative law makers became aware that their liberal counterparts had inserted language that could open the door to civil union for homosexual couples.
Jose Maria Villalta, a member of the left-wing Frente Amplio party, wrote the controversial wording into legislation.
“During the discussion in the first debate, we explained that the Law of Young People should be interpreted with this sense of opening to gays and no one objected,” Villalta said afterwards. With no perceived objection, he then proceeded to insert it into the bill.
The text previously stated ‘only marriages between a man and a woman would be recognized’, but now it extends the “right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity.”
The outraged Christian conservatives have demanded that Costa Rican President, Laura Chinchilla, veto the legislation when it crosses her desk. Ms. Chinchilla has refused to oppose the bill’s passing, however.
Once the bill is approved by the president, it will likely face challenges in the country’s court, where it is expected to lose.
For the many gay right’s activists in the country, though, the weeks has still been celebrated as a turning point for their cause. Marco Castillo, the leader of the Movimiento Diversidad (“Diversity Movement”), told the Tico Times, “It’s a big step forward for gay rights in Costa Rica.”