Costa Rican lawmakers opposed to gay
rights say they were duped into approving a bill which could extend
some benefits associated with marriage to gay and lesbian couples.
According to daily La
Nacion, the language was tucked away in a broader youth
social services bill which touches on marriage.
The Legislative Assembly approved the
measure on Monday. On Tuesday, social conservatives called on
President Laura Chinchilla to veto it. However, Chinchilla, the
nation's first female president, has previously signaled support for
such rights, the Tico
Jose Maria Villalta, a member of the
leftist Broad Front Party, inserted the language into the bill.
“During the discussion in the first
debate, we explained that the Law of Young People should be
interpreted with this sense of opening to gay people and no one
objected,” Villalta is quoted as saying by La
In criticizing the bill, Justo Orozco,
a member of the conservative National Renovation Party, likened being
gay to an addiction.
“That preference is not right,” he
said. “It's a stunted development of sexual identity. It can
change like alcoholism, tobacco addiction.”
Other lawmakers said that the bill
could not establish civil unions for gay couples because Costa Rican
law defines marriage as a heterosexual union.
“The reference that is here is for
heterosexual partners,” said Carlos Avendano, a member of a
different conservative party, the National Restoration Party.