SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee is taking issue with a Latin American human rights court opinion stating that Costa Rica should legalize same-sex marriage.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights last week issued the decision in response to a petition submitted two years ago by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, who had vowed to increase rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the country.
The court, based in Costa Rica's capital of San Jose, along with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is part of the Organization of American States, which works to promote democracy, human rights, security and development in the Americas.
Lee, R-Utah, called the opinion an attack on state sovereignty.
"Given that the United States is the predominant funder of the Organization of American States, it is of great concern that one of its international courts has issued an opinion recommending Costa Ricans to change their law," he said in a statement.
Lee said the U.S. must do more to safeguard religious liberties around the world, prevent taxpayer dollars from funding "ineffective" international organizations and uphold national sovereignty and the principles of subsidiarity.
The U.S. provided $51 million to the organization last year, about 60 percent of its budget, according the Organization of American States website.
The opinion is relevant to Costa Rica and 19 other countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean that accept the court’s jurisdiction.
The court said the countries that it oversees should treat same-sex couples "without discrimination," ensuring that they receive the same family and financial rights as heterosexual couples.
It also recommended that those rights be ensured through temporary decrees while governments pursue permanent laws.
A number of Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, do not allow same-sex marriage, although the trend is changing. In recent years, same-sex couples have been allowed to marry in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and some parts of Mexico, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in the United States in June 2015 on a 5-4 decision.
Lee at the time said five justices took a vital question about the future of American society out of the public square and imposed their views on a country still making up its mind about marriage.54 comments on this story
“That is unfortunate, but it is not the end of the discussion, as Americans of good faith who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman will continue to live as witnesses to that truth," he said then.
Lee continues to champion his proposed First Amendment Defense Act, which would prevent the federal government from discriminating against anyone who believes that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
The Human Rights Coalition has called it a misguided attempt to fix a problem that doesn't exist.