[QODLink]
Americas

Brazil clears way for same-sex marriage

National Council of Justice says government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.

Last Modified: 15 May 2013 02:00
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The ruling was welcomed by rights activists in Rio de Janeiro [EPA]

A top judicial panel in Brazil has cleared the way for same-sex marriage in the country, ruling that gay couples could not be denied marriage licenses.

The National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said on Tuesday that government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.

"This is the equivalent of authorising homosexual marriage in Brazil," said Raquel Pereira de Castro Araujo, head of the human rights committee of the Brazilian bar association.

The decision comes just over two months before Pope Francis attends World Youth Day in Brazil, the country with the most Catholics in the world - 123 million of its 194 million inhabitants.

The Brazilian Congress, where a strong religious faction opposes same-sex marriage, has not yet approved a law legalising gay marriages.

The council's decisions are subject to appeal before the Supreme Court.

But Joaquim Barbosa, the Supreme Court chief justice, said there was no reason for the government's marriage licensing offices to wait for the Congress to pass a law authorising same-sex marriage before extending the right to gays.

He noted that the Supreme Court in 2011 recognised stable homosexual unions, ruling that the constitution guaranteed them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Some offices have granted marriage licenses to gay couples and others have not. While some state courts have recognised same-sex marriages, the council's decision was the first to set a national standard.

The ruling was welcomed by rights activists in Rio de Janeiro.

"The decision is timely and is the result of a long struggle of organized social movements," said Marjori Machi, president of the Rio de Janeiro Association of Transvestite and Transsexual People (ASTRA-RIO).

"This will reduce legal procedures and ensures more equality to Brazilian citizens. Before this there were first and second class citizens. Now all families will be respected," Machi told AFP news agency.

324

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Featured
Critics say unregulated spending on India's elections is subverting the vote.
Libya has seen a blossoming of media outlets, but the media landscape is as polarised as the politics on the streets.
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
join our mailing list