Thousands of Costa Rican Christians march against gender ideology in education

Thousands of Christians in San Jose, Costa Rica, took to the streets on Dec. 3 and marched against the plan to include gender ideology in education, a move that they say endangers the stability of families.

(REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton / File Photo)A Gender Neutral Restroom sign is seen placed outside a restroom for the 15th Annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 9, 2016.

Last Sunday's march for "life and family" had been spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Church, and the event drew support from other groups and evangelical denominations, the Evangelical Focus detailed.

During the march, participants chanted for family and life, and also listened to speeches against gender ideology. Seven of the country's presidential candidates - Antonio Alvarez, Stephanie Campos, Rodolfo Piza, Rodolfo Hernandez, Fabricio Alvarado, Mario Redondo, and Oscar Lopez - were present during the event.

The Costa Rican Evangelical Alliance has also expressed its support for another movement against new educational guidelines that would incorporate gender ideology materials in the teaching of sexuality and the definition of family. This plan, which has sparked opposition from religious and social groups, has already been approved by the Ministry of Education.

Last month, Costa Rica's Vice President Ana Helena Chacon spoke at the Civil Marriage Equality Congress in San Jose, a conference which championed marriage rights for same-sex couples. She told The Washington Blade after the event that the birth of her youngest daughter, who was diagnosed with Down's syndrome, pushed her to fight against human rights violations and discrimination.

Chacon told the Blade that in 2005, the Supreme Court clearly recognized same-sex couples' economic and civil rights. In 2013, the country granted same-sex couples who have been together for at least three years the right to inheritance.

In addition, Chacon told the Blade that the main hindrance to advancing LGBT rights is the separation of powers between Costa Rica's executive and legislative branches.

In 2015, Assemblywoman Ligia Elena Fallas introduced a bill which would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. Despite this bill, Chacon said there are still a lot of lawmakers that strongly oppose LGBT rights in the country.