Lawmakers opposed to gay rights on
Tuesday blocked debate of a civil unions bill in Costa Rica's
Opponents called 3 15-minute recesses
in a row as lawmakers attempted to debate the bill, prompting the
chamber's president, Victor Emilio, to table the discussion and bring
the evening session to a close.
Two years ago, Costa Rica's highest
court blocked a referendum on the issue from going forward, saying
the issue should be decided by the Legislature and not the public.
However, legislative progress has been
thwarted at every turn. Justo Orozco of the Christian conservative
Costa Rican Renovation Party (Partido Renovacion Costarricense)
was one of the three lawmakers who called for a recess. Orozco, as
head of the Human Rights Committee, rejected the bill earlier this
Using her executive powers, President
Laura Chinchilla returned the item to the agenda.
The Bishops' Conference of Costa Rica
condemned the measure in a letter addressed to lawmakers.
The Roman Catholic group said granting
gay and lesbian couples the same legal benefits as conventionally wed
couples would harm society.
bishops wrote that it is “a grave injustice” to sacrifice
“the common good and the rights of the family” in order to attain
rights that “can and should be guaranteed through means that do not