News Round-Up: May 26, 2020

Francisco José Alvarado (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Washington Post: Costa Rica became the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage early Tuesday when a ruling from its supreme court went into effect ending the country’s ban. Costa Rica is the first country in Central America to make marriage equality the law of the land.

13WMAZ: A married youth pastor in Georgia created a wild story about being kidnapped to cover up his family learning he’d hired a male prostitute to meet him at a local motel.

Reuters: The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. coalition of labor unions, endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president on Tuesday, promising to launch an effort to beat Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election. The group represents 55 unions and 12.5 million workers.

Instinct Magazine: Francisco José Alvarado (top photo), a 30-year-old doctor from Spain, beat COVID-19 and became Mr. Gay World 2020. This year’s competition was canceled, but the organizers decided Alvarado – who was the runner-up in 2019 – should be given the title for as this year’s global ambassador for LGBTQ rights.

AlterNet: In late March, when every other European country was in lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Sweden’s officials decided that Swedes could be relied upon to follow sanitation guidelines themselves. Restaurants, shops, and recreational spots were allowed to stay open. As of May 19, Sweden had more coronavirus deaths per capita than any other country in Europe.

The Daily Beast: The Justice Department informed lawyers for Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) there will be no insider trading charges filed against Loeffler. The senator and her husband, New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher, have denied that their sales of millions of dollars in stock – made shortly after a closed-door Senate intelligence briefing on the coronavirus in early January – had anything to do with that information.

Talking Points Memo: A new study produced by business school profs at Columbia and University of Chicago suggests that viewing Fox News is strongly correlated with ignoring social distancing guidance during the first weeks of the COVID19 epidemic and is in fact driving that non-compliance.

Social Media: The Bidens paid tribute to the nation’s veterans on Memorial Day, appearing in public at a wreath-laying ceremony near his Delaware home. Over the weekend, Biden took a swipe at Donald Trump’s golf habit tweeting, “The presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart. It requires taking on the ultimate responsibility for the biggest decisions in the world. Donald Trump simply wasn’t prepared for that. I promise you I will be.”


Costa Rica: Supreme Court Rules Against Same-Sex Marriage Ban

From the BBC:

Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has ruled that the country’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

The court ruling gives the country’s legislators a time limit of 18 months to change the current law.

The president welcomed the ruling, saying he wants to guarantee “no person will face discrimination for their sexual orientation”.

However many lawmakers are evangelicals who strongly oppose gay marriage.

A Supreme Court judge, Fernando Castillo, told a press conference on Wednesday that the ban will automatically cease to legally exist in 18 months, even if no action is taken by the legislature.

Costa Rica Elects Pro-Same-Sex Marriage President

Carlos Alvarado Quesada
Image by Luis Madrigal Mena (CC BY S.A. 4.0)

Carlos Alvarado Quesada has won Costa Rica’s presidential election besting evangelical conservative Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz in an election that found same-sex marriage front and center.

With 95% of the vote in, it is Alvarado Quesada with a landslide victory of 61 percent.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Alvarado Quesada will be sworn into office on May 8 for a four-year term leading a nation of about five million people that is celebrated as a popular tourist destination and recognized for its stewardship of the environment.

The complexion of the contest changed dramatically in January when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that its signatory nations, including Costa Rica, must legalize same-sex marriage. The court was established by the Organization of American States.

The judges’ decision came in response to a petition brought by Mr. Solís, the Costa Rican president.

The court, which is based in the Costa Rican capital, San José, also ruled that Costa Rica was obliged to extend property rights to same-sex couples.

Some countries in the region — including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay — have legalized same-sex marriage, though many others have not.

Costa Rican Father’s Day Commercial Features Gay Couple

Aw, this is super-sweet. And just in time for Father’s Day.

From Tico Times:

The commercial, “Families in all their forms,” focuses on a father and his son opening a bag of Pozuelo-brand “Familia” cookies.

As the dad explains that there are different kinds of families, the commercial follows an older couple without children – a gay couple – and a stay-at-home dad. The commercial concludes with the words, “When there’s love, there’s family.”

Ana Isabel Sanz, regional marketing director for Pozuelo, told the daily La Nación that the company was not looking to challenge the traditional idea of the family. Instead, Sanz said that the company wanted their publicity to reflect the new kinds of families in Costa Rica, 60 percent of which don’t fit the old father-mother-kid mold.

Watch below:

(h/t JMG)

LGBT flag flies over Costa Rican capital for International Day Against Homophobia

The president of Costa Rica made history today when he became the first Costa Rican leader to raise the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement on even mast with the Costa Rican flag on the lawn of the Casa Presidencial.

The flag is being flown in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, May 17.

“This is the house of all Costa Ricans. When we say all Costa Ricans we mean all, without exclusion, without violence, without harassment in absolute respect for the rights of each one,” Solís told a crowd of LGBT leaders and advocates during his brief comments on the lawn.

“We’re fighting against discrimination in defense of the human rights of all Costa Ricans,” the president said, adding that discrimination based on sexual orientation was against the letter and spirit of the Costa Rican Constitution and human rights declarations the government has signed.

(from Tico Times)

Did Costa Rica just legalize marriage equality?

In Costa Rica, this past week, the national legislature approved a bill that it seems “accidentally” legalized civil unions or marriage for gay couples.

Here’s the language that was passed:

“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”

After her election in 2010, President Laura Chinchilla declared her continued opposition to same-sex marriage, but said that Costa Rico should move forward on some legal recognition for gay couples. Most expected the President to veto the bill and that it would be rewritten.

Now, she has signed this new law.

“We’re going to go forward and will sign this law. We understand that the debate is over how some interpret the law and this alone is not sufficient for the executive to veto the law,” Chinchilla told reporters.

The president added that the only members of government equipped to interpret the law are judges and lawmakers. Costa Rica would be the first country in Central America to approve same-sex civil unions if the provision’s legal interpretation holds up in court according to the Tico Times.

(via Queerty)