Brazil's high court has ruled in favor
of civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples, Reuters reported.
In a ruling handed down on Thursday, 10
judges of the Federal Supreme Court decided that gay couples have the
right to form a civil partnership. An eleventh judge, Jose Antonio
Dias Toffoli, recused himself from the case. Toffoli had worked on
the case as attorney general.
“The freedom to pursue one's own
sexuality is part of an individual's freedom of expression,” said
Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, the ruling's author.
The union allows gay couples in Latin
American's largest country access to pension benefits, inheritance
and possibly the right to adopt children.
The challenge was filed by the governor
of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral. Rio recognizes gay
couples with civil unions.
An effort to make Brazil the second
Latin American country behind Argentina to legalize gay marriage was
in March by Representative Jean Wyllys. Gay marriage is also
legal in the self-governing city-state of Mexico City, and the
nation's highest court has ruled that all states must recognize such
lawmakers are also considering a gay marriage bill.