On Monday, Costa Rican lawmakers passed a bill that concerned various social services for young people. On Tuesday, they woke up to the realization that they had pretty much legalized gay marriage.

Conservative lawmakers were appalled when they found that the law they had voted on had language inserted into it by liberal politicians that expanded social rights for gay people as well as extending the benefits of a civil union to gay couples.

“During the discussion in the first debate, we explained that the Law of Young People should be interpreted with this sense of opening to gays and no one objected,” explained liberal politician José María Villalta.

Conservatives are calling on the president of Costa Rica to immediately veto the bill. Recent surveys show that the population of Costa Rica is opposed to gay marriage.

If approved by the president, the law would have to withstand court challenges, which it would most likely lose. Still, the accidental legalization has given advocates a platform to discuss the need for gay marriage and maybe change the minds of Costa Ricans.

“It is a big step forward for gay rights in Costa Rica,” Costa Rican gay rights advocate Marco Castillo said in an interview.

Gay marriage is on such a roll lately, it even accidentally becomes law.

[Photograph of Costa Rican politician José María Villalta]