Costa Rica lawyer fights for marriage license

By admin

Originally published on Advocate.com August 16 2003 12:00 AM ET

An openly gay attorney has appealed to Costa Rica's supreme court to challenge legal prohibitions against same-sex marriage, a court spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. Yashin Castrillo submitted the appeal July 20 to the country's highest court after his request to be married to a male companion was rejected by a court dedicated to family matters, according to supreme court spokeswoman Maria Isabel
Hernandez.

"The idea came up four months ago after a conversation with my friend, and we agreed that the only way we could formalize the relationship was with marriage, the traditional form," Castrillo told the Costa Rican newspaper Al Dia.

Castrillo, who has worked as a government investigator and prosecutor, declined to reveal the name of his partner.

Family law expert Ricardo Gonzalez said such a marriage cannot not be carried out under Costa Rican law, noting that the penal code specifies jail terms of six months to one year for same-sex couples attempting to wed.

While the appeal is still before the supreme court, Castrillo has filed a complaint with a lower court challenging the constitutionality of articles of the Costa Rican family and penal codes that prohibit same-sex marriage. "These articles are contrary to the constitution in that they obligate an uncountable number of people to modify their feelings, thoughts, and lifestyle to follow what the state wants them to do," Castrillo said.

The supreme court has not set a deadline for deciding Castrillo's appeal, Hernandez said.