A bill has reached the first stages of becoming law in the central American country of Costa Rica that would prevent gays, lesbians and bisexuals from adopting children.

The proposed amendment to Costa Rica’s Family Code, the law regarding marriage, divorce, paternity and adoption, was agreed by all 57 elected members of the Legislative Assembly.

The bill bans adoption by individuals or gay and lesbian couples. It will now be debated.

President of the Childhood and Adolescents Commission, Mario Núñez, who is a member of The Libertarian Movement Party, the only party in Costa Rica that has a gay rights agenda, said:

“The state should make sure that minors in this condition are given to families whose base is [that of] heterosexual, monogamous matrimony, as is established in our Constitution, Family Code, and Christian principles.”

President of the GLBT organisation Diversity Movement Abelardo Araya responded that the commission’s reasons for approving the bill were stereotypical.

“Sexual orientation has nothing to do with whether or not one is fit to take care of a child,” he said.