Updated 07:17 AM EDT, Sun, Sep 20, 2020

LGBT News: Same-Sex Marriage Illegal in Costa Rica

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Same-sex marriage has officially been legalized in the United States, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the countries in the world are following suit. In fact, in places like Costa Rica, it is still illegal, and could land couples jail time.

According to Costa Rican Times, two women who married and their lawyer could face criminal charges in the country. Currently, the marriage is already in the process of being annulled. Luis Bolanos, the director of Costa Rica's Civil Registry, which records all marriages and births in the country, said on Monday that he was already referring the matter to prosecutors.

The controversial wedding is between Laura Florez-Estrada and Jazmin Elizondo, who wedded in July. Back then, they were able to register their nuptials with no question because a Civil Registry clerical error on Elizondo's birth certificate marked her as "male". The couple refused to have their union scrapped and are willing to take legal action against what they say is sexual discrimination. However, it seems that jail time and annulment will definitely be in the couple's future.

Bolanos explained, "We believe that these people were aware that a marriage between people of the same sex warrants a complaint, that parts of the Criminal Code might have been broken." He also said that he would be informing Elizondo about the correction already made to her Registry record.

However, Marco Castillo, the lawyer who drew up the marriage papers argues that he had legally married the two women, based on the documents he had. Castillo , who is also head of LGBT rights group, Diversity Movement, told The Telegraph, "It's an important political step because it makes clear that rights should not be conditioned by gender identity. This should make people see such issues as something natural."

This isn't the first same-sex marriage that happened in Costa Rica this year. While the Civil Unions Bill is still under consideration, Gay Star News noted that a judge recognized the union between two men based on a youth law prohibiting sexual discrimination earlier this year - and is probably the same law that Estrada and Elizondo are basing their case on. Back then, the judge based the ruling on a 2013 amendment to the youth code, which stated that common-law marriages should be granted, regardless of gender, and "without discrimination against their human dignity."

Do you think that the women who married should be charged with criminal liabilty for their decision to marry, or should the youth code be taken into account in this situation?

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