Maravilhoso. The Brazilian states of São Paulo and Bahia now allow same-sex couples to marry without a court's approval. The São Paulo court ruling was issued on Thursday, reports the Michael Lavers at the Washington Blade.
The decision, which will take effect in 60 days, comes after the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court ruled in May 2011 that gays and lesbians can enter into civil unions. A São Paulo judge in June 2011 ruled two men could convert their civil union into a marriage — 206 of these unions have been converted into marriages in the state.
Alagoas in January became the first Brazilian state to extend marriage to same-sex couples without judicial approval, while Bahia on the country’s northeast coast late last month followed suit. Notaries in Rio Grande do Sul and the Federal District that includes the Brazilian capital of Brasilia have also issued marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.
In spite of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court’s 2011 decision, Rio de Janeiro and many other states have yet to implement it. [Openly gay gay Brazilian Congressman Jean Wyllys] has introduced a proposal that would amend the Brazilian Constitution to recognize same-sex civil marriage throughout the country. A bill that would allow gays and lesbians to tie the knot has languished in Congress since the mid-1990s.
The court ruling means that three of Brazil's five largest states—Bahia, Rio Grande do Sol and São Paulo—now offer equal marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Bahia is known as the "African Capital of Brazil," thanks in part to its heavily Black population. São Paulo is Brazil's largest state and includes the megalopolis of São Paulo—the world's seventh largest city.
This becomes only the latest news from a continent that is rapidly embracing LGBT rights. In March, the mayor of the Colombian capital of Bogotá appointed a transgender woman to head the city's social welfare agency. Ecuador's new health minister is openly lesbian. Chile approved anti-discrimination legislation that protected sexual orientation only one month earlier.
Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide in July 2010. Marriage equality has been the law in Mexico City since December 2009. Those same sex marriages are recognized in all of Mexico's 31 states. Brazil's Supreme Court unanimously approved civil unions for same-sex couples in May 2011. A marriage equality and adoption bill was introduced last month in Uruguay, too.
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