Court Rules That 23 Latin American Nations Should Recognize Same-Sex Marriage. Four Already Do.

Last updated on: | Author: | MORE HEADLINES
Cite this page using APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian style guides

Image of the Judges of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Source: Buenos Aires Times, “Inter-American Court of Human Rights Urges States to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage,”, Jan. 10, 2018

On Jan. 9, 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling ordering the recognition of same-sex marriages and transgender individuals, a decision that will apply to 23 countries across South and Central America, and the Caribbean.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established in 1979 by the Organization of American States, and its rulings apply to all 23 signatory countries to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. In 2016, Costa Rica asked the court whether it is bound to extend property rights to same-sex couples, and whether it must recognize name and gender changes on official identity documents. This request by Costa Rica initiated the eventual ruling by the court in Jan. 2018.

In its ruling the court stated in part that “a restrictive interpretation of the concept of ‘family'” that excludes the bond between same-sex couples would run contrary to the purpose of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights: “‘the protection of the fundamental rights of human beings,’ without distinction.”

Of the 23 countries bound by the courts decision, four (Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and Uruguay) already recognize same-sex marriage. Nineteen other countries, including Bolivia, Cuba, Paraguay, and Peru, do not currently allow same-sex marriages, and will be expected to change their laws.


AFP and The Tico Times, “Inter-American Court Endorses Same-Sex Marriage; Costa Rica Reacts,”, Jan. 10, 2018

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) “Inter-American Human Rights Court Backs Same-Sex Marriage,”, Jan. 10, 2018

Zack Ford, “This Court Just Issued a Sweeping LGBTQ Victory for the Western Hemisphere,”, Jan. 10, 2018

Enrique Andres Pretel, “Latin American Human Rights Court Urges Same-Sex Marriage Legalization,”, Jan. 9, 2018