WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair Emeritus of the Committee, today made the following statement:

“We applaud this week’s opinion by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights requiring 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to recognize same-sex marriages. Countries in the Americas, including the United States, have made important strides in recent years in ensuring that LGBT citizens have the same rights as everyone else. But we still have a long way to go. In the coming months, we look forward to working with our friends in the region as they seek to implement the court’s opinion. We join human rights advocates throughout the world in celebrating this crucial step in the march towards equality.”


On January 9th, the Inter-American court of Human Rights issued an Advisory Opinion that Costa Rica must recognize marriage equality. This opinion is relevant to Costa Rica and 19 other countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean that have accepted the Court’s jurisdiction. The opinion was made in response to a petition from Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis asking the Court for its opinion on the matter. The court also stated that transgender individuals should be allowed to change their name and gender marker on identity documents.

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