In what is being described as the
country's first gay marriage, a Brazilian state judge on Monday
allowed a gay couple to convert their civil union (known as a stable
relationship) into a marriage.
Sao Paulo state Judge Fernando Henrique
Pinto okayed a request by Sergio Kauffman Sousa and Luiz Andre Moresi
to convert their civil union into a full marriage.
Last month, Brazil's
top court ruled gay and lesbian couples could not be denied a civil
union, but stopped short of legalizing gay marriage.
(Previously, civil unions for gay couples had been available in
several regions.) Pinto said in a statement that he based his ruling
on the Supreme Court's ruling and on Brazil's constitution, which
allows a couple to convert a civil union into a legal marriage.
The gay rights group Associacao
Brasileira de Gays, Lesbicas e Transgeneros (ABGLT) hailed the
ruling, calling it the country's first gay marriage.
“It's a great joy,” Sousa told
Globo's television network G1. “I'm still trying to understand
this historical moment.”
The men, who have been together 8
years, said they would apply for a marriage certificate on Tuesday.
Argentina last year became the first
Latin American country to legalize gay marriage. It's also legal for
gay couples to marry in the city-state of Mexico City. Mexico's
Supreme Court has ruled that states must recognize the legal
marriages of gay couples.