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Costa Rica Government debates alternative to gay marriage

Demonstrators march for gay rights in San Jose, Costa Rica on June 16, 2012.

January 4th, 2013 ( The Government of Costa Rica has announced that the Legislative Assembly is debating a law that would legalize homosexual unions. The initiative, which could set a sociopolitical precedent in Central America, is based on an alternative to traditional marriage, which it is calling “Co-habitation Associations.”


Laura Chinchilla’s government proposes an alternative to marriage between persons of the same sex. “The executive branch complied with its commitment to summon the project known as ‘Co-habitation Associations’ to the extraordinary sessions period in the Legislative Assembly,” the government said in a statement.


“The fact that the President has done this in a more open manner, and that the pre-candidates of various parties have shown their support, is an important step,” said Marco Quiros, president of the Costa Rican Diversity Movement.


“All of this gives us [reason to be optimistic], however, the matter is pretty tied up in the Legislative Assembly. One day we feel there’s support, and the next day we have doubts about certain legislators,” he added.


A statement read, “This is a plea for the patrimonial rights of unions between members of the same sex,” and “a call for respect and tolerance” in a matter with profound judicial, religious, political and cultural ramifications, Chinchilla’s administration explained in a press release that there is “a need to fill an empty legal space” in a delicate matter to some social sectors in the country.


In any case, the “Co-habitation Associations” avoids any equality to marriage. The idea is meant to adapt legislation to adults of the same sex that want to co-habitat in order to have access to certain rights that are acquired by living with another, such as property rights.


There is no similar legislation in Central America, though unions between persons of the same sex are legally recognized in Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina and two states of Mexico.

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