Latin American Human Rights Court Backs Legalization Of Same-Sex Marriage In 16 Countries

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Despite strong opposition from the local Roman Catholic Church, a Latin American human rights court on Tuesday ruled that countries within the region should recognize the legalization of same-sex marriage, even pushing for marriage equality.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights decided in favor of a petition submitted two years ago by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, who had been a staunch defender of the LGBT community. According to a BBC report, President Solis promised to increase rights protection of LGBT people in the midst of a strong Catholic church influence.

NBC News, meanwhile, reported that there a number of Latin American countries that do not allow same-sex marriage, one of which is Costa Rica. In recent years, however, some Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and some parts of Mexico have changed position and accepted this practice despite strong presence of Catholic influences.

The Costa Rican Inter-American Court said in its rulings that same-sex couples should be accepted and treated “without discrimination.” It further ruled that same-sex couples should enjoy and receive the same family and financial rights just like heterosexual couples.

The court also ruled that governments should guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, which include right to marry, right to just compensation, and right to organize, among others.

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Meanwhile, 20 countries have agreed to follow suit after the court rulings, as reported by Pink News. This is in lieu to their signing of the American Convention on Human Rights, including 16 countries who have yet to legalize same-sex unions. The countries in the Convention include Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Suriname. Some countries, who followed the court’s decision, like Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay, have already legalized same-sex unions in their respective states.

The Costa Rican government already released its statement regarding the court ruling. It said that it affirms the court decision, saying that love is a human condition that should be respected, without discrimination of any kind.

Even its Vice President Ana Helena Chacon recognized that the court ruling is a historic day for the LGBT community.

“The Inter-American Court vindicates the rights of LGBTI persons under the American Convention, and reminds all the states of their responsibility and historical moral obligation to this population.”

In a Twitter post, she said that even in the darkest corners of our continent, the future generations of LGBTI people will have equality, equal opportunities to develop their own projects of life, and happiness to grow without fear.