By Wendy Innes
In a landmark decision, Brazil’s highest court ruled on May 5 that all same-sex civil unions must be recognized by all public institutions, including all notary publics where the unions must be registered under Brazilian law.
Gay rights activists are hopeful that the decision will help stem the wave of violence against gays and lesbians recently in the most populated nation in South America. Brazil is a strongly Roman Catholic country, having more Roman Catholics than any other country on earth. The Roman Catholic Church came out strongly against the decision.
It was not a total victory however. While it was a step in the right direction, the measure did not legally recognize same-sex marriage. Mexico City and Argentina are the only countries in the Latin world in which the LGBT community can legally marry.
For more than two years, the Attorney General of Brazil has been fighting to get civil unions legalized for same-sex couples. The Brazilian constitution says that a “family entity” is “a stable union between a man and a woman.” However, according to the Attorney General’s office, just because the constitution defines a family in that language does not mean it excludes all other types of family arrangements. They further argued that to deny same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples violates the human dignity and equality clauses of their constitution.
Photo: LGBT News Agency
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