Costa Rica: Executive Order Issued To Promote Gender Equality

Costa Rica, along with many other nations, celebrated the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia today. Due to this, many public workers will be punished for disobeying an executive order given by Ana Helena Chacón, the Vice President of Costa Rica.

“There is an enormous gap in the legislation that is holding back equality. We, as the executive branch, need to find ways to build a more just society in the institutions that we manage.”

Any public worker in Costa Rica who is found to be discriminating against any person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity will be breaking the law. The law is open to interpretation, due to the fact that the way it was written allows each institution to decide on the punishment that will be handed out.

Francisco Madrigal, chief political officer for the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights in Central America, commented on this law.

“Many institutions already have their [own anti-discrimination] policies and now Casa Presidencial has decreed it for all those who don’t. This decree puts the cherry on the cake.”

It is important to state that this law is not a law for the entire country of Costa Rica. This law is only being enforced for the institutions that are under the umbrella of the executive branch of the Costa Rican government. This new law is also mandating that all employees affected will be required to go through training in order to assure that equality is being enforced. This law is also mandating that the words “couple” and “partner” be given new definitions.

At this time, Costa Rica does not have any laws that would recognize marriage for same-sex couples. What Costa Rica is doing with this new law is a first step toward that process.

Same-sex couples have been struggling in Costa Rica to be given equal treatment in regards to visitations in hospitals. It was not until 2014 that same-sex couples were allowed to be considered as a family member when it came to visiting their loved one.

Since this new law is only impacting the executive branch of the government of Costa Rica, they will be leading by example. By following through with this action, Costa Rica will be on the path towards equality for all.

Last year, Costa Rica was named the happiest country in the world. The country will be even happier once members of the LGBT community are considered equal.

[Image via Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times]