By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Forty-seven same-sex couples have “married” in São Paulo in a mass ceremony witnessed by hundreds of guests. The event on Friday saw sixty-four women and thirty men formalize their união estável (“stable union”), which guarantees the couples a range of rights as now prescribed by Brazilian law. The event was organized and sponsored by the São Paulo Justice Secretariat.
The first couple to “tie the knot” in the collective ceremony were Priscila Pires da Silva and Kathrein Marrichi Martin, who told Globo G1 News they were now “very happy” after making formal their two-year relationship.
The second couple had been together just a little longer: Américo Nunes Neto and Jorge Eduardo Reyes Rodriguez have waited 24 years to have their union recognized.
Federal Deputy Jean Wyllys, only the second openly gay politician Brazil has seen, said it was important that the public recognized the stable relationships, and that the fight was about civil – rather than religious – marriage.
Brazilian law has recognized same-sex unions since 2004, and Brazil’s Supreme Court (STF) decreed in 2011 that “stable unions” already enjoyed by heterosexual couples – which provide couples with a raft of rights from adoption, pensions and inheritance, to social security, health benefits and immigration rights – should also extend to same-sex couples.
The change in the law brought gay couples 112 new rights and allowed relationships to be registered for the first time. The unions must be registered a notary office.
A number of individual same-sex stable unions have been converted into full marriages following applications to state judges, citing anti-discrimination legislation in the Brazilian constitution.
LGBT campaigners hope these will pave the way for same-sex marriage to become a more regular occurrence in Brazil without the necessity for couples to fight for the right through legal channels.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Update is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.