Brazil Approves Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

The Brazil Supreme Court has approved civil unions for same-sex couples.

The AP reports: "In a 10-0 vote, with one abstention, the justices said gay couples deserve the same legal rights as heterosexual pairs when it comes to alimony, retirement benefits of a partner who dies, and inheritances, among other issues. The ruling, however, stopped short of legalizing gay marriage. In Latin America, that is legal only in neighboring Argentina and in Mexico City."

Sc_brazil Dagblog offered an earlier translation of Brazil's Veja news:

The Majority of Supreme Court Judges recognized the civil unions of gays & lesbians, assuring that these couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Of the 11 judges six have already voted for this measure by late afternoon Thursday.

Judge José Antonio Dias Toffol – who holds strong religious views – recused himself from the vote, stating he had previous dealings with lawyers in the case.

“Until there is a law regulating homosexual civil union and marriage, the high court's recognition of a stable unions is the best thing that could happen so that gay couples rights are accepted once and for all,” said Judge Maria Berenice Dias before the vote.

The move is a landmark achievement for Brazil – a nation that has struggled with violence against the gay and lesbian community.

Andrés Duque at Blabbeando noted the news prior to the AP reports, etc, via Twitter: "BRAZIL: Civil Unions for same-sex couples passes. Final vote: 10-0 w/1 abstention."


  1. Morgan says

    Great news! Although, every time a country that we’re supposedly superior to does this, it makes us look even more stupid. I’m not ashamed to be an American, I’m just embarrassed to be. Even when we eventually have legalized nationwide marriage equality, I’ll still be pretty embarrassed that it took so long to make a simple decision that affects no other marriages and that so many other countries made years beforehand.

  2. Some Yank in Rio says

    From here it looks like a legally elegant extension of the logic “if A=B and B=C then A=C”. Gay civil unions were just granted the same rights as straight ones. This is not technically civil marriage but after 2 (perhaps 3 I’m not sure) years participants in a stable union have all the rights of a civil marriage so it’s a pretty fu**ing HUGE DEAL.

    I’m not a legal expert but it’s incredibly great news and I’m thinking of a big white tiered cake right now.

    “Brasil: where the American Dream moved to after Reagan evicted it”

  3. Some Yank in Rio says

    Not suprisingly the Catholic church here was actively opposed to it. What’s nice is that, even though Brasil is overwhelmingly Catholic identified the church doesn’t have as much power in the government.

    Having said that it’s worth noting that abortion is still illegal here.

    “Brasil: where the American Dream moved to after Reagan evicted it”

  4. Brazilian in DC says

    Correction: Justice Toffoli recused himself because in 2008, when he was Brazil’s Solicitor-General, he issued a legal opinion to the Supreme Court in the same case recognizing same-sex unions. Therefore, had he voted, it would most probably have been a 11-0 victory.

  5. Daniel says

    “a country that we’re supposedly superior to”

    you make me laugh, Morgan.

    I don’t know you, but just keep in mind: you are not superior to anyone. ok?

    learn that.

  6. Disgusted Gay American says

    ahh american slips FURTHER down the path of Blatant Hypocracy…….Liberty and Justice for all….LOL Pretty EMPTY words that make america sound better then it actually is, in reality.

  7. excy says

    This notion of “superiority” has to dissapear…it is highly offensive and blatantly wrong.
    In the end, we are all on the same path towards equality. Some progressive countries have moved faster than others….but I do believe that we share the same destination.
    Congrats Brazil.

  8. ratbastard says

    I know Brazil. Truth be told, most of Brazil and everyday life for most Brazilians is a mess. The violent crime rate is astonishingly high. Infrastructure is not at the same high level as North America and western Europe. The level of real poverty [ poverty unlike almost anything known in the U.S.] is very high. And contrary to popular national myth, Brazilians have a very big problem with discrimination and racism, far worse than anything that exists in the U.S.

    But gay men do love Brazil. They love the FANTASY of guys on Rio beaches wearing speedos and snorting cocaine all day long. But of course that’s a fantasy for the vast majority people, including Brazilians. That’s reserved for a tiny minority of wealthy elite, including wealthy, privileged foreigners who often specifically go to places like Brazil to take advantage of large numbers of men, woman, and children who are desperate enough to do anything for money.

    As for one ‘people’ or ‘nation’ being superior to another: Nationalism is alive and well in Brazil and Latin America in general. Most Americans don’t wake up everyday and say ‘Gee, I’m glad we’re superior to Brazil LOL…in fact, America and Americans in general are so welcoming, MANY Brazilians and other Latin Americans immigrate to the U.S. legally and illegally.

  9. ratbastard says

    And Brazil is controlled by a leftwing government. Like leftist governments everywhere, including Europe, South Africa, etc., they well do and say the correct things. That doesn’t necessarily reflect reality on the street. They will often institute laws that they know will please international leftist [especially in wealthy 1st world N. America and Europe] and the general population [culturally pretty conservative actually] will go along with things things as long as they get their government aid and assistance.

  10. Daniel says

    wow, i haven’t read so many prejudice in two messages in a long time, Ratbastard.

    I’m a gay man that lives in Sao Paulo and I don’t have one single speedo in my closet or snort cocaine. I don’t know when you came to brazil, but there is actually a huge growing middle class that are reshaping the country. The level of criminality in são paulo reached the lowest in years. We still have problems, of course, like all the big countries in the world. But you should come and check the people’s daily lives.

    It’s a lot more ordinary than you imagine. It’s not this wild west that you picture.

    Don’t think you are better than anyone because you are not. Indee, the fact that you think like that just make you worse. I’m pretty sure that is possible to have a better life in brazil than the one you have.

  11. ratbastard says


    WHERE did I say or even imply I’m better than Brazilians or anyone else? Where? I DIDN’T. It’s people like you [allegedly boosting Brazil] that keep on raising a ‘superiority’ issue. Why? Is it a talking point, Daniel?

    I stand by my previous posts. I used a little OBVIOUS hyperbole to get a point across. There’s no question MANY gays [and others] have a fantasy image of Brazil that doesn’t reflect reality. BTW the same can be said for the U.S. But, OF COURSE I’m aware of Brazil’s growing ‘middle class’!

  12. Morgan says

    I think my “superior” comment was the wrong word to use. I, personally, do not feel superior to anyone. However, it’s a mindset that a large portion of this country has. I meant it to be more of a snide, social commentary; mimicking a lot of conservative, anti-gay, “patriotic” groups. Perhaps I should have used quotation marks in my original post.

    I see folks (and no offense to anyone here), but mostly conservative Republicans that do have a superiority complex when it comes to America. Throughout my whole life, everyone I knew always told me in conversations about the world, that everyone wants to be American; we have more freedom than any other country in the world, we’re the most powerful country on the planet… They would say that no one would ever choose to move to countries like England, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc.

    This was something I sort of believed as a child. As I grew up, it was pretty clear to me that not everyone wants to be an American, other countries do have the same if not more freedoms.

    There are several issues being debated in America that I find horribly embarrassing as a citizen. Marriage being one of the biggies. This issue is a no-brainer and yet it must be debated and scrutinized by people it will NEVER EVER affect.

    I grew up in Orange County, CA with a lot of “USA #1″ mentality people. And frankly, I don’t think they’ve ever experienced, nor taken the time to learn about the world.

    If the US outright banned same-sex couples from marrying by Constitutional amendment or my marriage was voided, I would have no problem whatsoever moving to another country. Hell, I moved to another state to have a better life (and I do). But if I feel betrayed by my country, and lose faith in it, why should I stay?

    Sorry for the essay-sized comment.

  13. MisterBrazil says

    ratbastard – Unless you’re a foreigner, like I am, and have applied for an American visa, like I have, and went through all the terrible humiliations imposed by the American Immigration Officers, like I have, I don’t think you’re entitled to talk about how “so welcoming, Americans are!”

    For a country that’s been formed in its GREAT majority of European immigrants, America is the one of the world’s least welcoming countries for foreigners. After years of welcomingly receiving citizens from England, Italy, Germany, Ireland, among others America decides to get picky about who comes in. Obviously the great majority of the European countries are allowed to come to this country without a visa, they call it the “The Visa Waiver Program”. And despite the fact that Brazil is currently the 7th richest country in the world it is not included in this “list” where its citizen are allowed to travel to America without a visa, instead citizens of Brazil of called “liars”, “toilet cleaner” like I have by American Immigration Officers at the American Consulate in Brazil.

    I thought I’d be more welcomed once I became a Citizen of the United States of America ( and after 12 years I became a citizen) but after being a citizen for 10 years now I don’t feel any more welcomed than the first day I got here and went to college and tried to talk to students, who in return looked at me as if I was from another planet.

    So please, unless you have some real life experience on how it really feel to be welcome in this country don’t come here with words like, “we’re so welcoming” blah… blah… blah…

    Get real….

  14. says

    I guess the thing here is a FANTASY about both nations.
    And that’s okay, it’s part of nationalism and tour ads.
    The US sees itself as the land of freedom and opportunity, and that image is sold to the world. You guys live there and know that’s not entirely true, nor it represents the whole american culture.
    Brazil is seen as a festive paradise, with beautiful sights and welcoming people. That’s partly true, but there’s much more…
    I live in Rio, and I’ve been to “Gay Rio”, with its speedos and cocaine, but that’s for those who want it. We also have loving couples, activism, everything.
    This decision was a major thing, because now the congress will be pressed to pass a marrige bill. Is hard, because of a very large right-wing and religious part of it, but this decision (motivated by the wonderful governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral) will make it easier for us to win.
    There’s still a lot of work, because poverty and religion combined, specially in the northeastern region, are still contributing for hate crimes. But as it is in the US, is better in the big cities, where people are more educated.
    Sadly, we just had an attack in Sao Paulo, our biggest city, but the city suffers with gang problems and they’re mostly composed of silly boys trying outrage people.

  15. D B says

    I do expect the U.S. LGBT community will reach country’s equal rights written down in law. Not meaning to be a bragger, but the U.S. is the country where I met (and lost) my first lover. P.S.: I’m a Brazilian citzen.

  16. says

    “Most Americans don’t wake up everyday and say ‘Gee, I’m glad we’re superior to Brazil LOL”

    no, they just keep saying “we’re number one! we’re number one!” and yet aren’t exactly able to point to anything “good” that they’re actually Number One IN.

    Every time Civil Unions get proposed in the US, the GOP votes as a block against them. Why? Because it has nothing to do with “the wor Marriage”, and everything to do with bigots with opinions (and NO facts) who simply don’t want LGBT people to be legitimized in society.

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