Brazil's top appeals court on Tuesday overturned a lower court's decision that blocked two women from legally marrying, Spanish news agency EFE reported.

The Superior Court of Justice of Brazil ruled in favor of an appeal by two women from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul seeking to marry.

The 5-member panel voted 4 to 1 in favor of the plaintiffs, becoming the highest court in Brazil to uphold gay marriage and overturning two lower courts' rulings against the women.

It was the third judicial victory in recent months for gay marriage advocates in Latin America's most populous nation.

Two men in June were allowed by a state court judge to legally change their civil union into a full marriage. And in May, the nation's Supreme Court ruled that the government must recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions, 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.

Gay couples can legally marry in Argentina and the city-state of Mexico City.