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Costa Rica Becomes The Latest Country To Legalise Same-Sex Marriages. Social Stigma Might Mean That It’ll Be A While Before This Happens In India

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On 6th September 2018, the Supreme Court of India passed the historic judgement that decriminalised Section 377 of the IPC. On that iconic day, our SC ruled that consensual adult gay sex would no longer be considered a crime. It was a major triumph for the entire Indian LGBT+ community and for the whole country. After decades of oppression, now the LGBT+ community can finally celebrate their love without fearing legal action, societal pressure notwithstanding. However, this decriminalisation only means that we have won the battle, not the war, since same-sex marriages remain illegal and are widely criticised in India.

But it looks positive. A growing number of governments all around the globe are seriously considering  granting legal recognition to same-sex marriages. So far, around 30 countries have national laws in place that permit gay and lesbian weddings. The latest country to join those ranks is Costa Rica, becoming the first country in Central America to legalise same-sex weddings.

On Tuesday, Costa Rica gave a go-ahead to same-sex marriages in a landmark ruling by its Supreme Court that came into effect at midnight. In August 2018, the Supreme Court said the country’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional and it gave the congress 18 months to legislate this or the ban would be automatically nullified. A few months ago, 20 of Costa Rica’s lawmakers tried to delay this ruling by another 18 months but failed to do so and the ban was lifted on Tuesday, 26th May.

Also Read: The Lawyers Behind Abolishing Article 377 Have Been A Couple For A While But They Waited Because Of This Reason

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said in a tweet, “Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country – the first one in Central America!”

Costa Rica is the sixth Latin American country and the 28th UN member state to legalise same-sex marriages. Despite rigorous opposition from multiple religious groups, same-sex marriages have become increasingly accepted in Latin America. This gives me so much hope. Gay and lesbian couples are also allowed to marry in Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and parts of Mexico.

Legalising gay marriages was a major campaign promise made by Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada, who took office in May 2018. In a video message posted on Twitter on Monday Alvarado said, “This change will cause a significant social and cultural transformation of the country. “(Gay and lesbian people) will have the rights and the same rights as any other person, couple or family in this country.”

Isn’t it so amazing that despite all the horrendous things that are happening around the world, Costa Rica has followed through on their promises and taken such a huge step in the right direction?

Couples all around the country held ceremonies, mostly private or online due to coronavirus restrictions. Though, Daritza Araya and Alexandra Quirūs got married just after midnight in an outdoor service performed by a notary. Their wedding was live-streamed on the internet because it was the first legal gay marriage in Costa Rica.

After getting so much bad news from around the world, this piece of news is such a welcome change. I keep thinking of how everyone in India would react the day same-sex marriages are legalised here. It will be difficult no doubt considering that our biggest challenge here is not overturning the law but changing people’s mindset’s which at the moment, is riddled with homophobia. The only way to change that is to have patience and keep poking at it.

However, I genuinely feel like we are crawling in that direction and who knows with the correct resources and a stroke of luck, maybe things will change and it will be a wedding like any other. Just a few days ago, we spoke about an Indian-American gay couple who got married in America. They had a huge celebration where the father of one of the grooms gave a speech on how he was extremely homophobic but after doing a lot of research, he came around to accepting his son. That speech instilled me with so much hope because that father proved that getting rid of homophobia is tough but not impossible.

A major landmark for us was the release of a commercial Bollywood movie- Subh Mangal Zyaada Savdhan that featured a gay love story between Ayushmann Khurana and Jitendra Kumar. The fact that this movie got some amazing reactions from the audience shows us that maybe perspectives on the LGBT movement are shifting bit by bit.

I loved that movie for depicted exactly how an Indian family would react to their son being gay. It focused on familial denial, gharelu nuske and obviously the “rebirth” ceremony that the family held to cure their son (yeah, that’s a thing apparently). It’s just like Ayushmann says in the movie- homosexuality is not a disease, homophobia is.

If we want to follow the footsteps of Costa Rica and those 30 countries, that fact is the most important to remember.

Let’s hope India follows suit soon!

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