Brazil has finally taken a huge step towards the non-discrimination of gay-union. The country's Supreme Federal Court has recognized that gay unions should not only be granted the same rights as a straight couples, but also the same protection under the law.
This was a big victory for a discriminated group, which has suffered for decades, being ostracized by the Brazilian media, besides lacking protection and being object of violence.
Within the family realm gay couples will be able from now on not only to adopt the same family name, but also to declare taxes as a couple, and have gay partners as dependent on family health plans and even adopt children. The same rights would apply when a partner is held in custody in prison and in case of inheritance.
According to Civil Rights Professor Hércules Benício, notary offices across the country now will be required to provide documents stating that such unions are stable, relevant and true.
The couple will only have to prove that the relationship is ongoing and stable, which should be enough to consider it as a de-facto union. The Catholic Church, as expected, criticized such decision despite the existence of scores of homosexual priests.
In Brazil, there is a law already in place - law 122 - which establishes that any action that would lead homophobia. should be treated as a criminal case. Nonetheless, almost a month ago, I myself was victim of verbal abuse and physical violence by two police officers of the municipality of Cotia, in the Greater São Paulo area.
According to them, my crime was leaving a night club in the company of a man, not a woman. Their reasoning is if you leave a night club with a man, this man must be your boyfriend, and therefore you are gay and gays must be killed and extinguished.
I celebrate the fact that Brazil is finally recognizing the rights of all minority groups, but I doubt that while the police keep acting in such a discriminatory way, it is very unlikely that any law
will work out in the country.
The Catholic Church, through its major institution the CNBB (Confederação Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil - National Confederation of Brazilian Bishops) declared that only a straight union should be considered stable but refused to comment on the number of homicides occurring to homosexuals in Brazil each year.
Edison Bernardo DeSouza is a journalist, having graduated in Social Communication the Studies at Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil. He lived in the US and Canada for close to 12 years and participated in volunteering activities in social works agencies. DeSouza currently lives in São Paulo where he teaches English as a Second Language for both private English Language Institute and Private High-School. He is currently participating as an actor in two English-language Musicals in São Paulo - Brazil and is pursuing further advancements in his career. He is particularly interested in economics, history, politics and human rights articles.