Lesbian Couple Face Prison For Getting Married

A lesbian couple are facing three years behind bars for using the fact that one of them incorrectly registered as a man to get married in a country where gay marriage is illegal.

Spanish chef Laura Isabel Florez-Estrada and her wife Jazmin Elizondo are on trial for carrying out an illegal marriage in Elizondo’s native Costa Rica in 2015.

The couple had used the fact that Elizondo had incorrectly been registered as a man on her birth certificate to get around the fact that same-sex marriage is illegal in Costa Rica.

However, after the case made international headlines the Costa Rican authorities decided to act and have corrected Elizondo’s documents and declared the marriage invalid.

Credit: CEN/@jazelizondo
Jazmin Elizondo and Lalay Florez-Estrada

The authorities have also now taken the couple to court and charged them with carrying out an illegal marriage. They face three years in prison if found guilty.

The couple’s lawyer, same-sex marriage advocate Marco Castillo, also faces 18 years in prison after being charged with “fake ideology” for signing their marriage documents.

Castillo said: “I married a man and a woman according to the official documents. I did not know they were the same sex.”

A preliminary hearing has taken place this week where witnesses to the wedding were called to the stand.

After the session, Florez-Estrada told local media that it was “suspicious” how quickly the paperwork in the couple’s case has been changed.

She said: “I have never seen an administrative mistake sorted out so quickly, even more so when the person involved has not requested it. It is a clear sign of homophobia and discrimination.”

The case is ongoing despite the fact that the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica gave the country’s authorities 18 months to create “equal marriage” rights in November 2018.

Credit: CEN/@jazelizondo
Jazmin Elizondo and Lalay Florez-Estrada

Lawyer Castillo claimed that the case should have been closed when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights proclaimed in favour of the Constitutional Chamber’s decision valued in Costa Rica, saying: “But the prosecution insist on charging us, I do not know why, but this only makes more people support us.”

The LGBTI community in Costa Rica has organised protests this week in support of the couple.

Florez-Estrada said that the restaurant owned by her wife had been attacked and that people in the street had insulted about their marriage.

She said: “We are very scared, we are scared the hate and the harassment could increase and we do not want to see our country like that, it is a peaceful country.

“We do not want to continue living like this, in fear, and we are thinking of moving to Spain. It is not an easy decision but we will need to do it if things get worse.”

The trial is ongoing.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Ana LacasaSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News


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