A top judicial panel on Tuesday ruled
that gay and lesbian couples in Brazil could not be denied marriage
The National Council of Justice, which
oversees the country's judiciary, ruled that notary publics cannot
deny a gay couple's request for a marriage license.
“This is the equivalent of
authorizing homosexual marriage in Brazil,” Raquel Pereira de
Castro Araujo, head of the human rights committee of the Brazilian
bar association, told the
“It is a major step that will ensure
equality among heterosexual and homosexual couples,” Carlos Magno
Fonseca, president of the Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Association, is quoted as telling reporters by the
The ruling comes two years after the
nation's Supreme Court ruled that the constitution guaranteed gay
couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, but volleyed the
issue of marriage back to legislators.
The decision prompted several couples
to petition the court system to convert their civil unions into full
marriages, with mixed rulings. Fourteen of Brazil's 27 states have
decided to convert the unions automatically, effectively legalizing
marriage for gay couples.
A marriage bill has stalled in Congress
but Tuesday's ruling has renewed calls by groups to approve the