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Lesbian couple become Costa Rica's first same-sex spouses

Gay marriage came to Costa Rica on Tuesday, and just after midnight, Daritza Araya Arguedas and Alexandra Quirós Castillo became the first same-sex couple to wed.
Image: COSTA RICA-RIGHTS-LGBT-MARRIAGE
Same-sex newlyweds Alexandra Quiros Castillo, left, and Daritza Araya Arguedas pose during their wedding in Heredia, Costa Rica, on May 26, 2020.Ezequiel Becerra / AFP - Getty Images

Daritza Araya Arguedas and Alexandra Quirós Castillo became the first same-sex couple in Costa Rica to wed early Tuesday, the first day gay marriage became legal in the country, according to local news reports and the advocacy group Sí, Acepto.

In San Isidro de Heredia, a town outside the capital, San Jose, Ana Cecilia Castro Calzada officiated at the ceremony, wearing a red coronavirus mask as the lesbian couple wore white dresses and a livestream carried the sounds of chirping nighttime wildlife.

“You have begun in law what has existed in love,” Calzada said. “We celebrate and honor this journey that you have made together as life companions in hope of a day like today: historic for you two and for Costa Rica.”

Eight minutes after midnight, as 10,000 watched live on Facebook, Castillo, 29, a university student, and Araya, 24, a judicial technician, signed their marriage license, exchanged vows, rings and their first married kiss before a small crowd. Their wedding was also broadcast on national television, according to the BBC.

Larger gatherings and celebrations to mark the start of same-sex marriage in Costa Rica were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After years of campaigning by the pro-marriage-equality group Sí, Acepto, Carlos Alvarado Quesada was elected president in a “resounding” victory in 2018 on an explicitly pro-gay-marriage platform.

Later that year, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ruled that the country's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, and ordered the legislature to draft a gay marriage law or else it would became automatically legal on May 26, 2020.

Alexandra Quiros Castillo, left, and Daritza Araya Arguedas stand before a lawyer during their wedding in Heredia, Costa Rica, on May 26, 2020.Ezequiel Becerra / AFP - Getty Images

Gia Miranda, director of the Sí Acepto campaign, said, “The only thing that could win with this is Costa Rica and, in general, love,” and she predicted that marriage equality would help decrease discrimination and increase the country's prosperity and attractiveness to tourists.

Costa Rica is the sixth country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following most recently Ecuador, which allowed it last year. It is also permitted in some parts of Mexico.

CORRECTION (May 26, 2020, 1:15 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this story misstated the name of one of the brides. She is Alexandra Quirós Castillo, not Angela Quirós Castillo.

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