Costa Rica yesterday became the first country in Central America to achieve marriage equality, with new laws recognising same-sex marriage.
The historic move follows a 2018 decision by the Costa Rican Constitutional Court that the existing ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Same-sex marriages are now both recognised and performed in the country.
“Today, Costa Rica officially recognizes same-sex marriage,” President Carlos Alvarado Quesada announced on social media.
“Today we celebrate liberty, equality and our democratic institutions.
“May empathy and love be the compass that guide us forward and allow us to move forward and build a country that has room for everyone.”
Costa Rican couples have already celebrated with weddings overnight, CNN has reported.
Equality advocates have welcomed the legal change.
“Today, Costa Rica has made history, bringing marriage equality to Central America for the first time,” said Human Right Campaign President Alphonso David.
“Costa Rica’s LGBTQ community has worked tirelessly for years to make today a reality.
“This victory is theirs, and it inspires the entire global LGBTQ community to continue fighting to move equality forward.”
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association also applauded Costa Rica for the move.
“We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!” the organisation tweeted.
Costa Rica joins 29 other countries in recognising same-sex marriage, most recently Northern Ireland earlier this year.
Other countries in the Americas have introduced marriage equality in the last decade, including the US, Canada, Mexico, and parts of South America.
The Netherlands was the first modern country to legally recognise same-sex marriage, passing its marriage equality law in 2001.
Australia passed marriage equality legislation in 2017 following a lengthy public debate and vote that highlighted broader issues of LGBTIQ acceptance, four years after neighbouring New Zealand legalised same-sex marriage.