Marriage opponent wins first round of Costa Rica presidential election

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A vocal opponent of marriage rights for same-sex couples has won the first round of Costa Rica’s presidential election.

The New York Times reported Fabricio Alvarado of the National Restoration Party received nearly 25 percent of the vote on Sunday. Alvarado, a Pentecostal minister and singer who is a former journalist, will face off against Carlos Alvarado of the leftist Citizen’s Action Party in the second round that will take place on April 1.

Fabricio Alvarado and Carlos Alvarado will face off against each other because neither of them received at least 40 percent of the vote on Sunday.

Sunday’s election took place less than a month after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a landmark ruling that recognized same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón on Jan. 9 announced her country’s government will comply with the ruling. The New York Times reported Fabricio Alvarado defeated 12 other candidates in the first round because he made his opposition to the decision a centerpiece of his campaign.

Margarita Salas, a Costa Rican LGBT rights advocate who is a candidate for the country’s National Assembly, on Monday described the election results as “a very difficult scenario.”

“The country’s anti-rights forces came together,” she told the Washington Blade. “These results are undoubtedly a blow to the advance of human rights.”

Costa Rica is a predominantly Roman Catholic country that borders Nicaragua and Panama, but more of its residents have become evangelical Christians in recent years. Chacón acknowledged to the Washington Blade last November during an interview in the Costa Rican capital of San José that anti-LGBT attitudes remain a “big challenge” in the country, in spite of her government’s efforts to combat them.

ABOVE: Juan Enrique Pi, president of Fundación Iguales, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, left, poses with Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón at the Civil Marriage Equality Congress in San José, Costa Rica, on Nov. 10, 2017. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.

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