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Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Civil Unions
  Custody of Children
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Hate Crimes
Health, Medical
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Transgender, Transsexual
Wrongful Death

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Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References


On August 2008, consensual sex between same-sex couples was reportedly lawful at age eighteen (18) years [R1.1]

R1.1 The Real Costa Rica: Gay Lesbian Travel Costa Rica AUG 08
Annuities, Death Benefits, Employee Benefits, Pensions, Retirement, Social Security, Superannuation Legislation/Cases/References


On 29 June 2018, it was reported that the Ministry of Work and Social Security approved payment to Roy Caldero of the pension received by his same-sex partner with whom he had lived for many years. His partner passed away in February 2016 [R1.2].

On 25 June 2016, the Ministry of Labor was reported to have announed the extending of the survivor's pension to same-sex couple in all pension plans under the National Budget, including the Ministry of Finance, the National Register, Incofer and MOPT. It does not apply to teachers, who are under a separate budget [R1.1].

R1.2 CostaRicaStarNews: Same Sex Couples in Costa Rica Can Now Receive Benefit of Pension in the Event of Widowhood 29 JUN 18
R1.1 TheCostricanTimes: Same Sex Couples Take a Step Forward in Costa Rica 25 JUN 16
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation

Courts & Tribunals

In 2000, the Costa Rican Supreme Court ruled that the practice of in vitro fertilization is unconstitutional, writing that according to the constitution, "The human embryo is a person from the moment of conception … not an object … not to be frozen … (and that it is) not constitutionally legitimate to be exposed to a disproportionate risk of death" [R1.1].

R1.1 LifeSite News: Costa Rican Supreme Court says No to Homosexual "Marriage" 30 MAY 06
Children: Access, Custody, Visitation Legislation/Cases/References

Courts & Tribunals

In April 2003, a transwoman has been granted "provisional custody" of the 9 year old child she had been taking care of since he was a baby. [R1.1].

"Provisional custody" is the first step in the way to legal adoption of a minor.

R1.1 CIPAC/DDHH: Transwoman is Granted Custody of Her Child 04 APR 03
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [MARRIAGE]


On 22 May 2014, the social security administration was reported to have agreed to allow same-sex couples to share health and pension benefits effective in 90 days, even though the conservative Central American country bans gay marriage [R1.5].

On 04 July 2013, President Chincilla signed the bill amending Article 242 of the Family Code into law that could establish common-law marriages for gay and lesbian couples in Costa Rica [R1.4].

On 03 July 2013, 45 MPs approved an amendment to Article 242 of the Family Code, which previously only recognized legal partnerships as between a man and a woman, to recognize “the right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity, social and economic effects of domestic partnerships that constitute publicly, notoriously unique and stable, with legal capacity for marriage for more than three years”, perhaps inadvertently making same-sex unions lawful [R1.3].

On 06 August 2012, the government announced that President Laura Chinchilla would support same-sex unions and propose legislation that would give economic rights to gay couples in Costa Rica [R1.2].

On 06 June 2012, in a 4–2 vote initiated by evangelical Justo Orozco, the Human Rights Commission buried a bill on sociedades de convivencia, or coexistence partnerships, during its first session since the panel was formed the previous week. The Bill guaranteed economic benefits similar to what heterosexual couples receive [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

On 02 June 2014, Family Court of Goicoechea, San Jose was reported to have approved the civil union of Gerald Castro and Cristian Zamora, though the decision is expected to be appealed [R2.5].

On 20 September 2013, it was reported that Desamparados Family Court Judge Jorge Arturo Marchena Rosabel had rejected the gay domestic partnership application of Alberto González and Lorenzo Serrano in the first legal test of Costa Rica's controversial reform to the Young Person Law [R2.4].

On 13 October 2011, the Supreme Court overturned Article 66 of the Technical Penitentiary Regulations prohibiting conjugal visits for gay prisoners, declaring the stiplation that a visitor “must be of the opposite sex” unconstitutional [R2.3].

In August 2010. the Supreme Court ruled against allowing a referendum on whether gay couples should be permitted to have civil unions stating, stating: "Minority rights that are derived from claims against the majority cannot be subject to a referendum process where majorities are needed" [R2.2].

In August 2008, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that gay felons in the Costa Rican prison system would not be allowed conjugal visits [R2.1]

R1.5 NDTV: Costa Rica to allow gay couples to share health benefits 24 MAY 14
R1.4 TicoTimes: President Chinchilla signs law advocates believe key to same-sex unions 05 JUL 13
R1.3 GayStarNews: Same-sex unions 'accidentally' approved in Costa Rica 03 JUL 13
R1.2 Tico Times: Costa Rican government to support same-sex unions bill 06 AUG 12
R1.1 Tico Times: Human Rights Commission votes against bill extending economic benefits to same-sex couples 06 JUN 12
R2.5 TeleSUR: Costa Rican Court Approves Civil Union for Gay Couple 02 JUN 15
R2.4 TicoTimes: Judge rejects gay couple's domestic partnership 20 SEP 13
R2.3 Latin America News Dispatch: Conjugal Visits For Gay Couples Legalized In Costa Rica 13 OCT 11
R2.2 Costa Rica court says no to referendum on civil unions 11 AUG 10
R2.1 The Advocate: No Conjugal Visits for Gay Costa Rican InmatesNo Conjugal Visits for Gay Costa Rican Inmates 12 AUG 08

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Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References

Courts & Tribunals

On 30 April 2015, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) recognized that it was illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and upheld a similar 2014 decision, ruling that the Costa Rican Doctors and Surgeons Association discriminated against gay and lesbian members by refusing to let them sponsor their same-sex partners for membership at the association’s recreational facilities [R1.3].

In September 1998, the Supreme Court of Costa Rica added two important articles of freedom to the Constitution [R1.2].

Article 20 of the Constitution effectively says: "All people are free in the Republic, [whether] male or female [and are] under the protection of the [Republic's] laws".

Article 33 of the Constitution effectively says: "all people are equal under the law, and can not be discriminated [against] in any way that is against her or his humanity". This is an addition of a non-discrimination provision for all Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders.

An explanation of the anti-discrimination law reads: "Whoever practices any form of discrimination, based on race, nationality, gender, age, political option, sexual orientation, social position, or economical situation, marriage status, or deseases (this includes HIV/AIDS) [may] be [subject] by law to twenty to sixty days in jail." [R1.2].


In April 1996, the Defensoria de los Habitantes in the Central American country of Costa Rica has ruled that the country's constitution does not allow the Government to deny legal recognition to minority groups such as gay men and lesbians [R1.1].

R1.3 TheTicoTimes: Costa Rican court upholds gay rights in professional associations 06 MAY 15
R1.2 Gay Lesbian Bisexual & Transgender Student Support Services at Indiana University: Gays Welcome in Bahamas Military 15 SEP 98
R1.1 Westside Observer: Denial of Legal Recognition Unconstitutional 11 APR 96
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

See also: [CHILDREN]

Courts & Tribunals

On 14 May 2018, the supreme electoral court approved a resolution that will allow people to change the name they are registered with to go with their gender identity. Its decision also means that the gender a person is registered with at birth will no longer appear on identity documents [R1.1].

R1.1 TheWashingtonPost: Costa Rican court issues decision on gender identity 14 MAY 18
Health, Medical Legislation/Cases/References

Courts & Tribunals

On 12 June 2015, the Constitutional Court judges dismissed an appeal by a person who identifies as a woman that sought coverage from Costa Rica’s public health system (CCSS) to transform her male genitalia into that of a woman in Thailand, concluding that there was no scientific evidence that the procedure was medically urgent [R1.1]

R1.1 Inside Costarica: Constitutional Court dismisses appeal by transsexual seeking gender reassignment surgery under public health 16 JUN 15
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]


Consensual sex between same-sex couples is not specifically prohibited in Costa Rica [R1.1].

In 2002, Article 382 in the Penal Code was rewritten by Law No 8250 of 17 April 2002, and the previous provision which criminalised “scandalous sodomy” was repealed. The modification came into force on 10 April the same year [R1.1]

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 700.06kb, 13 MAY 09
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL UNIONS]


On 20 January 2018, it was reported that Costa Rica's first same-sex wedding had been blocked by notaries who are refusing to recognize it until laws forbidding gay marriage are changed, setting them at odds with the president, who directed government agencies to apply the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 09 January ruling until lawmakers or the constitutional court formally adopt new laws [R1.4].

On 09 November 2015, Civil Registry director Luis Bolaños announced that a criminal complaint alleging unlawful marriage against Jazmín Elizondo (24) and Laura Florez-Estrada (25), who were wed here in July by notary Marco Castillo, because the registry mistakenly had listed one of them as a man. A complaint was also filed against the couple's public notary [R1.3].

On 25 July 2015, Lawyer Marco Castillon, president of the Diversity Movement, civilly married Jazmín Elizondo (24) and Laura Florez-Estrada (25). The marriage appeared in the Registry records on 27 October however, in 2003, the Civil Registry made an error recording Jazmín Elizondo as a man in the system, though she is biologically a woman. The Registry is applying to annul the marriage and may institute proceedings against Castillon [R1.2].

On 04 July 2013, President Chincilla signed the bill amending Article 242 of the Family Code into law that could establish common-law marriages for gay and lesbian couples in Costa Rica [R1.1].


Courts & Tribunals

On 09 January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that same-sex marriage should be recognized, delivering a verdict binding on most Latin American states -- some of which still hold traditionalist views opposing such unions. The decision in response to a motion lodged by Costa Rica in May 2016. The ruling is legally binding in Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay [C2.4], [R2.3].

In May 2011, Judge Arturo Marcheno Rosabal in the Juzgado Segundo de la Familia (Family Court) in San José found that paragraph 6 of Article 14 of the Código de Familia (Family Code) states that marriage is legally impossible for same-sex couples and that he had no other alternative but to reject the marriage application of Antonio Rodríguez and Eliécer Bermúdez [R2.2].

In May 2006, the Supreme Court ruled "the concept of marriage embraced by the political constitution stems historically from a context where it is understood to be between a man and a woman" [R2.1]

R1.4 DailyMail: Costa Rica's first gay marriage suffers bureaucratic hitch 20 JAN 18
R1.3 Costa Rica files criminal complaint against same-sex couple who married due to clerical error 09 NOV 15
R1.2 QCostaRica: Costa Rica First Same-Sex Marriage Due To Error 05 NOV 15
R1.1 TicoTimes: President Chinchilla signs law advocates believe key to same-sex unions 05 JUL 13
2. Courts & Tribunals
C2.4 Consultative Opinion (in Spanish): Requested by the Republic of Costa Rica OC-24/17 PDF 1.19MB 24 NOV 17
R2.3 AFP: Inter-American Court endorses same-sex marriage 09 JAN 17
R2.2 InsideCostaRica: Court Rejects Same-Sex Marriage In Costa Rica 25 MAY 11
R2.1 LifeSite News: Costa Rican Supreme Court says No to Homosexual "Marriage" 30 MAY 06
Military Legislation/Cases/References


On 01 December 1948, President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica. In 1949, the abolition of the military was introduced in Article 12 of the Costa Rican Constitution. The country maintains Police Guard forces [R1.1].

Parenting: Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CHILDREN]

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