SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, March 18 (Reuters) - Costa Rica will this week put forward a plan to allow same-sex civil unions based on previous initiatives to change the law in the Central American nation, a government official said on Wednesday.
Costa Rica follows Chile, which in January became the most recent Latin American country to recognize same-sex marriage or unions after Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and some parts of Mexico.
"This week we will launch (draft legislation), honoring the commitment our government made in this area and ... we will open a space for consulting with various organizations," said Ana Gabriel Zuniga, deputy minister of the presidency.
The government hopes Costa Rica's legislature will discuss before April 30 two existing draft bills with the purpose of combining them to legalize same-sex civil unions.
Same-sex marriage, however, is not on the agenda, Zuniga said following a meeting with activists.
Gay rights activist groups praised the plan, which follows other recent moves to fight discrimination in the country such as extending some social security benefits to same-sex couples.
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis last year hoisted the rainbow gay pride flag at the presidential palace to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (Reporting by Enrique Pretel; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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