Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since May 16, 2013, following the National Justice Council decision, which orders notaries of every state to perform same-sex marriages. The ruling is on appeal to the Supreme Court.
Same-sex unions had already been legally recognized since 2004. Following a ruling of the Supreme Court of Brazil, so-called stable unions(Portuguese: união estável) had been available for same-sex couples since May 2011. These unions were granted most of the rights of marriages, including adoption, welfare benefits, pension, inheritance tax, income tax, social security, health benefits, immigration, joint property ownership, hospital and prison visitation, IVF and surrogacy. This decision paved the way for future legislation on same-sex matrimonial rights. Before the nationwide legislation, Alagoas, Bahia,Ceará, Espírito Santo, Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Paraná, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, Santa Rita do Sapucaí (MG), São Paulo, and Sergipe had already allowed same-sex marriages and several unions were converted into full marriages by state judges. According to the ruling (25/2013), a couples’ request should be registered by civil registry officers that have to give 15 days for the district to decide if they agree. If they do not agree, the marriage could not proceed. The other states all recognized the marriages and had registered marriages (often after a judicial approval) on a case-by-case basis.
Nevertheless, on May 14, 2013, The Justice’s National Council of Brazil legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 14-1 vote by issuing a ruling that orders all civil registers of the country to perform same-sex marriages and convert any existing civil union into a marriage, if the couple wish so. Joaquim Barbosa, president of the Council of Justice and the Supreme Federal Court, said that notaries cannot continue to refuse to “perform a civil wedding or the conversion of a stable civil union into a marriage between people of the same sex.” The ruling was published on May 15 and took effect on May 16, 2013.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in Brazil, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.