SAN JOSE May 23 Costa Rica's social security
system has agreed to extend medical benefits to same-sex
couples, in a fresh step toward equal rights for gays and
lesbians in Latin America.
The board of directors of the country's social security
system, known as the Caja, voted unanimously to extend the
benefits on Thursday night. It now has three months to implement
a framework to recognize same-sex couples for health insurance
and hospital visitation rights.
Costa Rica, a retirement haven for a growing number of U.S.
citizens, has not legalized gay marriage or civil unions. A bill
on gay civil unions has been pending in the National Assembly
New center-left President Luis Guillermo Solis, who hoisted
the gay pride flag at the presidential palace in an act of
solidarity on May 16, says he wants to grant the gay and lesbian
community more rights. But he does not support gay marriage.
(Reporting by Zach Dyer; Editing by Dave Graham and Tom Brown)