The president of Costa Rica raised the gay pride flag at the presidential palace to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia last Saturday.
President Luis Guillermo Solís hoisted the flag in an act of solidarity, which gay rights advocates believe was the first time the flag had been erected from the offices of a head of state in the Americas.
"We will fight very hard against all forms of discrimination and seek tirelessly a more inclusive and just society respectful. Such is the commitment of our government," Solis said, according to Hispanic faith-based news site, Acontecer Cristiano.
Solis, a leftist who took office just a few weeks ago, considered the flag ceremony a historic moment and said that his human rights agenda will be a priority during his administration. Additionally, Solis, who had never held political office before his election and was largely unknown until a few months ago, urged public institutions to raise similar flags in their buildings.
However, prior to the presidential commemoration, four unidentified Christian delegates took a stand in opposition and urged Solis not to fuel tensions between the gay and Christian communities.
"The legislative announcement to raise the flag is a negative precedent for the health of society, this also represents an unfortunate precedent," the delegates said in a released statement, according to Spanish-language news site, Noticia Cristiana.
Furthermore, they argued that Solis favored the gay flag ceremony over the commemoration of the Farmer's Day of Remembrance and the International Day of the Family, which is typically celebrated in the Central American nation.
"We deeply regret that the president has not scheduled any activities in his agenda to give prominence to these celebrations as they [did] with the day of non-discrimination," they stated. "This leaves us a lot to think about regarding his priorities and we would like to know if he will raise flags for other causes in the same manner."
Juan Luis Calvo Calderon, president of the Costa Rican Evangelical Alliance Federation, shared the same sentiment and also took to Facebook to express his opposition.
"I'm sorry about what is happening in Costa Rica; rulers fallen from grace taking Costa Rica along the path of 'change' in morals, values and towards a culture of disrespect and provocation," Calderon said. "(The president) handed his government to the "Baals" and to immorality. In all this, do not expect God to honor those who do not fear him."
Meanwhile, gay rights advocates applauded the commemoration and continue to expect the nation to legalize gay marriage. Last year, former President Laura Chinchilla inadvertently approved a bill that could open the way for same-sex marriage. However, Costa Rica is only currently considering extending medical benefits to same-sex couples.