Another dramatic win for LGBT rights in Latin America. The highest court in Costa Rica has derailed a Catholic Church-supported national referendum on whether the country should grant same-sex couples the right to civil unions, reports the AP. Anti-gay, Catholic Church-backed groups collected more than 150,000 signatures for the ballot initiative scheduled for December 5.
"The Constitutional Court's 5-2 decision released Tuesday says such a referendum would put a minority at a disadvantage in a largely Roman Catholic country. It also says gay civil unions is a legislative issue and not an electoral one. The court says it considers homosexuals a group that is at a disadvantage and the target for discrimination, requiring government authorities to protect their rights."
The Constitutional Court released this statement: "Minority rights that are derived from claims against the majority cannot be subject to a referendum process where majorities are needed... People who have relationships with individuals of the same sex form a group that is subject to disadvantages and discrimination, and require the support of public authorities to obtain their rights."
Uruguay and Colombia already permit same-sex civil unions. On July 15, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. Marriage is also legal in Mexico City. The Costa Rican court decision was released last night, the same day the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that all 31 states must recognize same-sex weddings performed in the capital.