A debate over gay marriage has upturned Costa Rica's presidential race, giving ammunition to conservative frontrunners ahead of Sunday's vote and challenging the Central American country's image as a progressive bastion. Evangelical Christian singer and congressman Fabricio Alvarado, who leads recent polls, has pitted himself against a January ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that urges Costa Rica to legalize same-sex marriage. Alvarado, 43, has said the Costa Rica-based court is violating the country's sovereignty and jeopardizing its "traditional family" values. He has threatened to withdraw Costa Rica from the court system, as Venezuela did.
A member of Germany's far-right and anti-Muslim Alternative for Germany party (AfD) who recently converted to Islam has said he did so in protest at what he sees as the "moral decline" of the Protestant church. Arthur Wagner, 48, until recently a leading party member in the state of Brandenburg, told the Bild newspaper on Wednesday that his decision was in part sparked by the church's acceptance of same-sex marriage and the presence of priests at gay pride marches. "One of the reasons (for the conversion) is tied to changes that have taken place in the church, which no longer reflects my values," he told the daily.