Brazil Takes Decisive Step in Gay Marriage Rights

The Brazilian National Council of Justice recently announced that notaries will now be required to register same-sex civil unions as marriages, if asked to do so by the couple.

Notaries are forbidden from refusing to marry gay couples or converting a same-sex civil union into a marriage if the couple requests during notary services.  This applies for all notaries including mobile notaries.

The council’s decision was based on a 2011 Supreme Court case that decided to recognize same-sex civil unions. The court stated that gay couples were entitled to the same legal rights as straight couples regarding alimony, retirement benefits, inheritances, and other issues.

So far, gay marriage is legal in 14 of Brazil’s 27 states. However, a bill legalizing gay marriage across the entire nation has been stopped in Congress by conservative evangelical representatives.

Despite the setbacks facing a nation-wide gay marriage bill, gay rights advocates applaud the council’s decision as a major step toward equality for homosexual couples.