A landmark court ruling has directed 16 Latin American countries to enact marriage equality.
The ruling was handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jose in Costa Rica, to which 20 countries that have signed the American Convention on Human Rights are bound.
The judges were responding to a petition lodged by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis in May 2016.
Four signatories have already legalised marriage equality – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay – but the 16 others, including Peru, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Paraguay have not and now face pressure to change their laws.
The BBC reported the judges as saying the governments “must recognise and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex”.
The judges demanded that governments “guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination.”
They added that it was unacceptable for a separate legal provision to be created just for same-sex marriages.
Costa Rica’s Vice-President Ana Helena Chacón welcomed the court’s ruling, saying it would be adopted “in its totality,” according to the BBC.
“Today is an historic day, a day of light,” she said.
“The Inter-American Court vindicates the rights of LGBTI persons under the American Convention, and reminds all the states of their responsibility and historical moral obligation to this population.”
(Photo by Antonio Cruz/ABr)