This year, everyone gets to say ‘I do’

In Spanish, you don’t say “I do.” You say, “I accept.” And that makes the name of the nonprofit organization working to usher in Costa Rica’s era of marriage equality – Sí Acepto – all the more poignant. It’s what gay couples will finally be able to say once the law changes in May, but it’s also what the rest of the country needs to say, over and over, in larger and larger numbers.

The campaigns that Sí Acepto has been organizing around the country are aimed at easing that transition. I’ve just been sitting here worrying about what might lie ahead for same-sex couples who enter the spotlight once marriage equality arrives in May, not realizing that Sí Acepto, among other amazing organizations in this field, are on it. They’re making advertisements, highlighting the economic benefits that increased wedding tourism will bring, and organizing workshops to help raise awareness about what marriage equality is all about.

At their website, you can sign a statement showing your support for marriage equality, share your story (no matter what your background or sexual orientation) about why this issue is important to you, donate time or money to the cause, and more. And their Facebook feed is the clearinghouse for inspiring stories about people planning to wed this year, news about the work going on nationwide, and more.

Thanks, Sí Acepto, for charging to the fore in building a country that says “I do,” not just to more weddings but to a better, fairer society.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! Each month in 2020 has a monthly theme, and February’s is marriage equality, so scroll back through the month to see several posts highlighting people and organizations working on behalf of this issue in Costa Rica. 

 

A Who’s Who of allies: Costa Rica’s ‘diverse Directory’

Throughout this month focused on LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality, I’ll probably mention Costa Rica’s Diverse Chamber of Commerce more than once. After all, the entity is one of the leading voices in the ongoing push to make Costa Rica a safer and more accepting place for all sexual orientations. But today, on this Travel Thursday, I want to point out a great resource on their website: the Diverse Directory.

While the site doesn’t appear to be translated (hey folks, want some help? Call me. For real), the directory is easy enough to sift through regardless, checking out the names of businesses that have committed to the principles of inclusion and respect that the Cámara de Comercio Diverso represents.

With marriage equality on the horizon, efforts like this are sure to grow exponentially. In countries around the world, the good business sense of, you know, treating people equally has made a huge difference in progress towards human rights. In Costa Rica, the growth projections for the LGBTQ+ tourism market are being bandied around with delight; a recent study, for example, estimated that the country has been losing up to 1 percent of GDP because of discrimination based on sexual orientation. I can’t wait to see what the near future holds in store for the Cámara Diversa and its kindred organizations around the country.

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter). 

The lawyer who thumbed his nose at inequality

My hero this week is a notary public.

I’ve mentioned here that marriage equality will be the law of the land in Costa Rica in May, and that this month’s Daily Boost is dedicated to LGBTQ rights. But if you follow Costa Rican news, you might know that in 2015, a lawyer performed the marriage of two women despite the fact that gay marriage was not yet legal. It was made possible by one of the most momentous clerical errors I’ve ever heard of: one of the women had been accidentally registered as a man by Costa Rican authorities, making it technically possible for her to marry her girlfriend. Their marriage was one of the acts that helped momentum grow for the arrival of marriage equality in Costa Rica, which will be finalized in just a few months.

Marco Castillo was the notary who put the marriage into the history books, and this week, Judge Francisco Porras ordered that Castillo be stripped of his right to practice law for 13 years. He also annulled the women’s marriage and asked the Civil Registry to provide him with a list of any other notaries who have committed similar acts. As activists and the media soon revealed, the judge’s personal Facebook page is awash with conservative posts, particularly arguments against abortion; a copy of the sentence from a source I trust has circulated online and is a real piece of work, although I won’t comment on the details since I haven’t confirmed myself that it’s the real sentence (honestly, it’s hard to believe that a judge could write such an incoherent and vile statement). As you might imagine, an appeal is in the works.

I wrote on Monday that the Year of Love, as some have dubbed this in Costa Rica, will bring with it lots of hate. The implementation of marriage equality will spark plenty of backlash, and we need to brace ourselves. This week’s absurd decision is just one example to prove this point. Especially during a week when 52 of my own country’s elected authorities showed themselves unwilling to stand up for what’s right even when they have the full backing of the law and even the Constitution, I am so grateful that people like Marco Castillo are in the world, ready to stand up for what’s right even if it’s still illegal.

May this judge’s decision, an absurd and unjust setback on Costa Rica’s winding path toward civil rights, be overturned as soon as possible.

Photo: Karla Pérez for ElMundo.cr. Read their story here: https://www.elmundo.cr/costa-rica/notario-que-caso-a-dos-mujeres-apelara-fallo-de-juzgado-que-pide-suspenderlo-y-anular-matrimonio/

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter). 

Celebrating love – and 100 days of my yearlong Boost

Welcome to February! I know a lot of folks aren’t particularly fond of Valentine’s Day, but this year I think it’s worth some extra celebration – because it’s the month of love in what some people in Costa Rica have dubbed the Year of Love. As I’ve posted before, this is the year that marriage equality will finally be the law of the land (on May 26, to be exact. That’s the day that the 18-month deadline set by Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court for legislators to make marriage equality legal, will elapse; if they haven’t taken action by that date, the legislation prohibiting gay marriage will automatically be voided).

Of course, this also means we need to buckle our seatbelts, because the news of marriage equality and photos of happy couples will undoubtedly spur yet another backlash. So for this month’s deep dive, I’ll be looking at some of the individuals and organizations who are serving and protecting Costa Rica’s LGBTQ community, and otherwise promoting the right to love.

In other news, I’ve started taking the day number off of my daily posts to avoid distraction, and thereby failed to note that Friday was Day 100 of my yearlong self-challenge to write something every weekday! To all those who’ve been along for the ride since Day 1, thank you!

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter). 

The year of love has arrived!

A big year in Costa Rican history has begun: the year that marriage equality will finally be the law of the land (on May 26, to be exact. That’s the day that the 18-month deadline set by Costa Rica’s Constitutional Courte for legislators to make marriage equality legal, will elapse; if they haven’t taken action by that date, the legislation prohibiting gay marriage will automatically be voided).

So for this first Monday of 2020, I’m full-on stealing an idea from my new Facebook friend Melissa Floress: celebrating (and tagging) everyone I can think of who is ready to help Costa Rica’s LGBTQ couples – or visiting couples – tie the knot in 2020. I know nowhere near as many people as Melissa, so I am simply reproducing her recommendations, but I would love to hear about the many additional businesses I know are out there who would love to help celebrate some very special and long overdue weddings in 2020! (You can also read more about LGBTQ-diverse businesses in Costa Rica through the Cámara Diversa.)

Event planning: Royal Eventos CR

Music: DJ Pablo Mena, Cimarrona Andree Perdomo J

Cakes: Palma Dulce Pastelería & Productos Gourmet, Angela Poppe

Makeup: Steph Zamora Maquillista, Andrey Ruiz

Decoration: Cindy Aguilar Madrigal

Flowers: Eli Arias

Food: Sylvi Ta, Pao Alvarenga de @Amarena

Clothing design: Kasandra Farrier, Andrea Gil

Spa packages for the wedding party: Lorena Herrera

Photography: Susan Alpizar

Master of ceremonies: Sofia Porras Aguilar

Notaries: Sue Mey, Laura Castro (Laura can provide services in English)

Hotels for the honeymoon: Casitas Tenorio (Bijagua), Hotel Kasha (Caribbean)

Who am I missing?

I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter).