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Brazil: Judge rules same-sex couples in Rio de Janeiro state can marry

Friday, April 19, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO — A judge in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro on Friday published a legal ruling authorizing marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Judge Valmir de Oliveira Silva, General Magistrate of Justice of Rio de Janeiro, ruled that existing legal provisions prohibiting same-sex unions were unconstitutional and in breach of the Federal Supreme Court’s previous ruling on gay marriage, reported MixBrasil.

Rio de Janeiro will become the eleventh Brazilian state to allow marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, following the states of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Piauí, São Paulo, and Sergipe. The Federal District allows same-sex marriage as well.

Brazil has rapidly advanced its gay marriage and civil unions laws in the past two years — in 2011, Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court approved same-sex couples to receive the same rights as married couples through civil unions.

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Similar to as in the U.S., the decision to allow marriage between same-sex couples must be determined by each of Brazil’s 26 states.

According to the ruling, 15 days after a same-sex couple enters into a civil union in Rio de Janeiro, they will be considered legally married without having to apply to a court.

In São Paulo, the country’s most populous state with 41 million people, a state judge issued a similar ruling in December.

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