Friday, May 6, 2011
Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that homosexual partners can form a civil union, enjoying the same legal rights as heterosexuals, according to a statement on the court’s website.
After a two-day deliberation, 10 judges voted to recognize that gays in a stable relationship enjoy property, health insurance, pension, and all other legal rights, the statement said. Judge Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli recused himself from the case because he had worked on it as attorney general, said a spokesman for the court, who declined to be identified, citing internal rules.
The court voted on two cases, one from Rio de Janeiro state and another from the federal prosecutor’s office. The attorney general’s office supported the extension of rights on human rights grounds. The national confederation of Brazilian bishops opposed granting rights to gay couples, saying the constitution mentioned specifically couples constituted by men and women.
Argentina last year became the first Latin American country to approve gay marriage, and Mexico’s Supreme Court in August upheld a 2009 Mexico City law allowing gays to marry. Gay couples in Colombia also enjoy pension, social security and property rights.