Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla
has signed a bill which could extend some benefits associated with
marriage to gay and lesbian couples.
Nacion reported on Friday that Chinchilla had signed the bill
The Legislative Assembly approved the
measure on Monday. After gay rights groups hailed passage as a
victory, conservative lawmakers called on Chinchilla, the nation's
first female president, to veto the legislation.
Jose Maria Villalta, a member of the
leftist Broad Front Party, inserted language into the bill, which
deals with youth social services and touches on marriage, that he
says applies to gay couples.
“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
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 the
conservative National Restoration Party.
Marco Castillo, president of the gay
rights group Movimiento Diversidad, said that four gay and lesbian
couples were prepared to ask the courts to affirm their rights based
on the law.