Brazil judicial panel paves way for gay marriage

May 15, 2013 17:30

BRASILIA - Brazil has taken a big step towards joining Argentina and Uruguay as the first Latin American countries to legalize gay marriage, even though the Brazilian Congress has dragged its feet on the issue.

A panel that oversees the Brazilian judicial system ruled on Tuesday that the country's notaries public cannot deny marriage licenses to people of the same sex who live together.The National Council of Justice based its decision on a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that gays in stable relationships should have the same rights as heterosexual couples in terms of retirement benefits, inheritance and alimony.

While Brazil's judiciary has taken the lead on legalizing same-sex marriage, full recognition will depend on the approval of a gay marriage law by Congress, where a bill has faced opposition from conservative evangelical lawmakers.

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