A court ruling has ordered 20 countries to adopt marriage equality.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights this week made its decision on a marriage equality petition submitted two years ago by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, Pink News has reported.

Of the 20 countries who had agreed to abide by the court’s decision by joining the American Convention on Human Rights, four had already legalised same-sex marriage—Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.

The 16 countries that have not yet introduced marriage equality are Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.

The court told the countries’ governments to “guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination”.

It also ruled that trans people should be allowed to change their name on their identity documents.

“Today is an historic day, a day of light,” said Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón.

“The Inter-American Court vindicates the rights of LGBTI persons under the American Convention, and reminds all the states of their responsibility and historical moral obligation to this population.”

Costa Rica has publicly confirmed it will follow the court’s ruling.

The government said in a statement, “Love is a human condition that should be respected, without discrimination of any kind.

“The state confirms its commitment to comply.”

LGBTI equality has advanced somewhat in the Americas over recent years.

Uruguay’s first trans senator, Michelle Suarez, last year promised to push for a law ensuring one per cent of government jobs would be reserved for trans people.

© Star Observer 2017 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.