Costa Rica on Tuesday became the first country in Central America to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Two women became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Costa Rica when they tied the knot in a ceremony that took place in the municipality of Heredia shortly after midnight local time on Tuesday.
"Costa Rica officially recognizes marriage equality," tweeted President Carlos Alvarado. "Today we celebrate liberty, equality and democratic institutions."
"May empathy and love be the moral compass that allows us to move forward and build a country where everyone belongs," he added.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January 2018 issued a landmark ruling that recognized same-sex marriage and transgender rights. Then-Vice President Ana Helena Chac√≥n subsequently announced the Costa Rican government was going to comply with the decision.
The Costa Rican National Assembly faced a Tuesday deadline to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Lawmakers earlier this month who tried to delay the decision from taking effect cited the coronavirus pandemic, but their efforts failed.
"The day has arrived," proclaimed S√≠, Acepto, a campaign in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Costa Rica, on Tuesday on its Twitter page. "Civil marriage equality is a reality in Costa Rica."
Margarita Salas, a Costa Rican LGBTQ activist who previously ran for the National Assembly, on Monday told the Washington Blade the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in her country is "fundamental." Salas added, however, it is "not the end of the fight."
"There is much that remains: An anti-discrimination law, classification of hate crimes, recognition of transgender people's identities," Salas told the Blade. "We will keep moving forward until we have all rights, every day, for everyone."
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.