Lesbians make history as first same-sex couple to marry in Costa Rica with emotionally-charged ceremony on live TV

Costa Rica

Two women in Costa Rica have become the first couple to have a same-sex marriage in their country, just moments after the law passed.

Minutes after midnight Daritza Araya and Alexandra Qu Castillo celebrated their love live on TV in a ceremony held in San Isidro de Heredia.

Standing before a marriage officiant in a face mask, they each exchanged their vows: “With this ring I join you in marriage. This ring symbolises my infinite love and respect. May this ring remind you that I am always by your side in energy and love.”

The coronavirus pandemic meant the couple were joined only by a handful of loved ones, but the moment was shared and celebrated by thousands watching from home.

The ceremony was broadcast on social media by Sí Acepto (‘I do’) campaign, which has long been pushing for marriage equality in Costa Rica.

The organisation had been planning a public party to mark the milestone, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, queer couples and activists celebrated the country’s journey to same-sex marriage in a broadcast on state television and social media.

“As the country and the world face the difficult situation of the pandemic, this historic milestone becomes even more relevant,” Sí Acepto campaign director Gia Miranda said.

“[It’s] a message of a better future for thousands of couples and families who will receive the legal recognition they deserve.”

It’s been a long journey for Costa Rica’s LGBT+ community, who have been waiting for this moment since August 2018, when the country’s Supreme Court finally ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban same-sex couples from getting married.

The court set a time limit of 18 months for the legislature to implement changes through law, and the 2017-18 presidential election was dominated by the issue of LGBT+ rights in the wake of the ruling.

Same-sex marriage opponents repeatedly tried to delay the reform, with the latest attempts being launched as recently as two weeks ago.

Fortunately their attempts failed, giving way to what activists hope is a new era of equality for the central American country.