Legislators respond while LGBTI group plans fight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Frente por los Derechos Igualitarios, an organization that fights for the rights of the sexually diverse people, will accuse the president of the Legislative Assembly before the constitutional court for allegedly violating the freedom of speech of its members.

This was confirmed by the spokeswoman of the organization, Larissa Arroyo, who also said the organization will seek help from Defensoría de los Habitantes, the Costa Rican ombudsman.

Going forward, the group also intends to make its presence known and file a report before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights after an incident that took place Monday afternoon.

That day, members of the organizations attended the legislative session at the hall destined for the public.

They attached several posters in the window demanding equal treatment for sexually diverse people.

At some point, the group also attached a bigger poster that showed the president of the legislature, Gonzalo Ramírez, kissing Antonio Alvarez Desanti, a lawmaker who currently is the candidate for the Costa Rican presidency for Partido Liberación Nacional.

“Then Ramírez ordered the security guards to come after us and our art, violating our constitutional righ of freedom of speech.” explained Ms. Arroyo. “What makes it worse is the fact that, even after we asked, the security refused to provide their names and under what grounds they were removing our artwork.”

According to Alexis Chacón, spokesperson for deputy Rolando Gonzales, the order to remove the poster was issued only after several lawmakers complained.

He also added that Rolando Gonzales, another lawmaker from the Liberación Nacional Party was the first one to be offended.

“That’s not true. Marcela Guerrero, Patricia Mora also felt offended.” said Gonzales.

“I complained because that’s a disrespectful representation of a behavior that does not correspond to the true nature of the two people involved.” he said.

“This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s all about respect.”.

Marcela Guerrero, legislator of Partido Acción Ciudadana also shook off the accusation and said she just wanted to deescalate the situation.

“I’m on their side. I’m an activist for equal rights but I considered their approach to be divisive rather than inclusive.”

In the last two weeks, human rights groups have widely criticized the election of Ramírez as head of the legislature, due to his staunchly conservative views and his status as an evangelical pastor.

One day after this incident, the executive branch announced that the government is asking for jurisprudence from the Inter-American Court on Human Rights to determine exactly what international rules the country should comply with in regards gender and sexual identity.

The government has also consulted before the court if the right of people to change their name according to their identity is a protected one and what’s the best procedure to do so.

It also seeks to know if the patrimony of a same-sex couple is protected under the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights.

“It is a duty of the state to take measures to prevent the violation of these people rights.” said Ana Helena Chacón, the second vice president of the country.

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