Costa Rica

AT A GLANCE

Same Sex
Relations
Legal?

YES

Legal Gender
Recognition
Possible?

YES

LGBTI Orgs
Able to
Register?

YES

Actions Related
to SOGI at
the UN

2016, 2019: Supported Voting IE SOGI
UN LGBTI Core Group, Member

Overview

Costa Rica has made significant progress on LGBTIQ issues in the last decade. In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered the Parliament to legalize same-sex marriage within 18 months. Consequently, same-sex marriage has been legal in Costa Rica since May 26, 2020. In 2018, legal gender recognition without surgical or judicial interference became possible, and the state health system began to finance gender affirming medications and procedures. This progress is due, in part, to a push for greater LGBTIQ equality by prominent liberal politicians, including President Alvarado Quesada. Hate crime and anti-discrimination legislation does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity. Societal opinion of LGBTIQ issues is mixed. The Catholic Church plays a strong cultural, political, and social role in Costa Rica and many religious leaders have disparaged LGBTIQ people as immoral or as a threat to “family values.” Meanwhile president Quesada has issued a public apology for past persecution of LGBTIQ people in Costa Rica, and threw his weight behind equal marriage efforts. Societal acceptance has grown significantly in recent years.