Costa Rica’s Presidential election gets nasty to gays

Fabricio Alvarado | Google+ | r

An international court ruling saying Costa Rica should allow same-sex marriage has changed the country’s presidential race, turning an evangelical former singer candidate who opposes gay marriage from an also-ran with just 2 percent support into the leading contender in today’s vote.

Fabricio Alvarado, 43, vaulted from 2 per cent to 16.9 percent in a recent survey. His nearest rivals were Antonio Alvarez of the National Liberation Party with 12.4 percent, and Carlos Alvarado of the governing Citizens’ Action Party with 10.6 percent (no relation). If no candidate tops 40 percent in the vote, the first two finishers advance to a second round on April 1.

More than two-thirds of Costa Ricans oppose the court’s ruling, which requires the Catholic country to grant same-sex couples rights to adopt children and receive inheritances and other benefits from their partners. About 76 percent of Costa Ricans identify as Roman Catholic and 14 percent as evangelical, according to the CIA World Factbook.

VOA notes:

as the only major candidate openly backing same-sex marriage, Carlos Alvarado also saw his poll numbers rise about 5 percent recently as he attracted socially liberal voters who oppose Fabricio Alvarado’s anti-gay marriage stance.

Sunday’s outcome is very much up in the air with more than two-thirds of likely voters undecided, according to the CIEP poll.