A candidate that openly supported same-sex marriage has won the Costa Rican presidential race.
Center-left Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a former labor minister, beat his conservative and religious opponent Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz in a runoff election on Sunday. Alvarado Quesada received 61 percent of the vote against Alvarado Muñoz, who is a former television journalist and current Pentecostal singer.
Same-sex marriage was a predominant issue throughout the election campaign, especially in January after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Costa Rica in violation of its treaty obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) for LGBT people.
The court ruled that member nations should provide equal marriage, but Alvarado Muñoz said that complying with the ACHR would be “a violation of the country’s sovereignty and an affront to traditional values.”
“We have to stand up to those who want to trample on the family,” he said in a debate.
Alvarado Quesada has supported marriage equality throughout the campaign, despite polling that suggested seven in ten Costa Ricans did not support it. He said that his win was a “beautiful” message to the world.
“Let’s celebrate our 200 years of Independence with a government worthy and up to date with the times,” he wrote on Twitter. “Today, the world is watching us and we sent a beautiful democratic message.”
In a speech to his supporters following his win, Alvarado Quesada affirmed that he would continue to champion equality as president.
“My commitment is to a government for everybody, in equality and liberty,” he said. “There is much more that unites us than divides us.”
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