More progress on gay rights in Latin American. The Brazilian government decreed on Friday that members of same-sex couples are entitled to social security survivor’s benefits in the event of the partner’s death, reports the Latin American Herald Tribune.
"The social security agency has been paying pensions in those cases since 2000 on the basis of a court ruling. But the Social Welfare Ministry concluded that a formal regulation was needed to guard against a possible future court decision’s overturning the practice.
"The executive order is grounded in provisions of the Brazilian civil code and constitution that guarantee the well-being of all citizens. The drafters of the order cited an opinion issued in June by the Advocate General’s Office that nothing in the constitution precludes same-sex unions, even though Brazilian law does not explicitly recognize them. While Congress has considered a number of bills to legalize same-sex civil unions, pressure on politicians from the Catholic Church and Brazil’s burgeoning evangelical movements has blocked progress on the issue."
Ten years ago a court in the state of Rio Grande do Sul "granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance and retirement plans," reports BusinessWeek. Gay and lesbian couples have been fighting for national pension and social security rights ever since then.
In early November, Mexico's House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to amend social security rules to include medical and social benefits for same-sex couples. The bill now heads to the Senate for debate.