Notes from Brazil: the new appellate decision on marriage and an upsurge in anti-gay violence

by on November 2, 2011  •  In Family law, Marriage

From a lawyer friend in Sao Paulo:

The decision of Brazil's highest Federal Appeals Court (Superior Tribunal de Justi├ža) that same sex couples can legally marry went one step further than the Brazilian Supreme Court. It is certain to be challanged in the Brazilian Supreme Court, where the outcome is uncertain. Three of the Justices who voted for recognizing gay couple "civil unions" are about to retire.
The press and the public paid relatively little atention to the latest decision, since in Brazil the debate about the the use of the term "marriage" v. "civil unions" does not exist. However, the legal implications of the recognition of ssm are considerable, since they are legally diferent institutions. I have seen few reactions from the conservative side. (In Argentina, the President, who supported ssm legislation, was re-elected by a landslide).
While the US is having some horrible LGBT bullying cases (indeed they are heartbreaking), at least they give the the problem some much needed attention. This issue has not been discussed in Brazil, and I am not able to get an accurate sense of how bad things are in our classrooms.
As the patterns of criminal behavior are going global, we are seeing here a strong increase in hate crimes against LGBT people, most commonly physical attacks on male couples showing affection in public places. Violence against LGBT people has always existed in Brazil, but this is clearly a new trend, since it is happening in big cities and it is involving middle class people, which is unprecedented.


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