Brazil: Court rules that gay couples can marry in Rio de Janeiro state

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A court ruling in Rio de Janeiro means that the state is the 11th in Brazil to recognise same-sex marriages, although there are conflicting reports about the way that the judgement will be applied.

An order to allow the civil unions of same-sex couples within the state to be considered as marriages was made by the Magistrate General of Justice of Rio, Judge Valmir de Oliveira Silva and published in the Official Gazette of the State today reports Jornal do Brasil.. Some analysts have interpreted the precedent as only applying in cities within the state where a judge also agrees with equality.

In 2011, the federal Supreme Court ruled that all gay couples in Brazil should have the right to enter into civil unions but stopped short of a same-sex marriages. The ruling gave “stable” couples the right to benefits enjoyed by straight married people, relating to benefits, inheritance and tax.

The decision to allow gay couples to marry is one taken by each of the 26 of the states that make up the country.

In some states, same-sex couples have to apply to a court to have their civil unions converted to a marriage.

Today’s decision means that 15 days after the publication of a union of a gay couple in Rio de Janeiro, they will be legally considered as married, with the agreement of a judge.

Last year, a judge in the state of São Paulo ruled that same-sex couples would be considered as married without the agreement of a court.