Costa Rica's Constitutional Court gave Wednesday an 18-month deadline to lawmakers to decide whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage, shortly after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, urged the government to make the move.
The vote took place as a group of protestors was pressuring the magistrates to rule in favor of the defensors of same-sex marriage to the court outside the building.
LGBT activists challenged in 2013 and 2015 various articles of Costa Rica's Family Code and the bill on Youth, which consisted of major obstacles for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
LGBT groups and other organizations, including four former presidents, urged the Constitutional Court to make a decision taking into account the IACHR's ruling issued earlier in January this year.
The regional human rights court stated that countries in the Latin-American region should legalize same-sex unions, endorsing a growing push for marriage equality despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.
It also recommended that LGBT rights be ensured through temporary decrees while governments pursue permanent laws.
The Court’s decision came in response to a petition submitted two years ago by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, who had vowed to increase rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the majority Catholic country.
Costa Rica’s government celebrated the decision, saying that lawmakers would take steps to adopt the court’s criteria “in its totality.”