Sunday, December 23, 2012

Brazilian State of Sao Paulo Legalizes Gay Marriage

In less than 2 months same-sex couples who are in civil unions will have access to full marriage equality in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. Last year, Brazil's highest court legalized civil unions nationwide. Since then couples have been petitioning judges in various jurisdictions to convert their "everything-but-the-word-marriage" civil unions into civil marriages. Now comes word that a statewide ruling has been issued which will apply to all civil unions in São Paulo.

According to the Washington Blade:
 A São Paulo judge in June 2011 ruled two men could convert their civil union into a marriage — 206 of these unions have been converted into marriages in the state.
Alagoas in January became the first Brazilian state to extend marriage to same-sex couples without judicial approval, while Bahia on the country’s northeast coast late last month followed suit. Notaries in Rio Grande do Sul and the Federal District that includes the Brazilian capital of Brasilia have also issued marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.
“It is a very important decision,” gay Brazilian Congressman Jean Wyllys told the Washington Blade. “And like the Constitution says, in its Article 226, that the state should facilitate the conversation of stable unions into marriage and it also says people are equal under the law, many same-sex partners demanded this in the court. What the judges are doing is complying with the Constitution, recognizing the rights of same-sex partners to enter into civil marriage.” 
In spite of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court’s 2011 decision, Rio de Janeiro and many other states have yet to implement it. Wyllys has introduced a proposal that would amend the Brazilian Constitution to recognize same-sex civil marriage throughout the country. A bill that would allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot has languished in Congress since the mid-1990s.
 São Paulo is Brazil's most populous state (approximately 41 million), and includes the country's largest city with the same name where the world's largest pride celebration happens every year.

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