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"Discrimination generates hatred"
May 8, 2011 1:41 AM   Subscribe

Brazil's supreme court recognises same sex unions. The Brazilian Supreme Court voted 10-0 (one abstention) yesterday to recognise same-sex civil unions as of equal legal validity to marriage/ with "stable" same-sex couples now able to gain certificates that allow access to equal legal rights. "Discrimination generates hatred," said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, who wrote the ruling.

These unions enable all marriage related rights - retirement benefits, inheritance, health benefits, the adoption of children etc. This has been achieved in the world's most populous Catholic country, and against the background of intense Catholic Church lobbying and legal argument against recognising the unions with the Brazilian National Bishops Conference's lawyer even stating in court that "Plurality has its limits".

Ultimately, this view lost, and the ruling is probably best summed up by Justice Britto: "Equality is complete.[...]All rights of heterosexual people are valid for homosexuals."

NB: For those who are interested, Wikipedia has an excellent contextual article on the recent history of LGBT rights in Brazil.
posted by jaduncan (42 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
But seriously, its Brazil. Would you have expected anything different from a country with Carnaval?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:50 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good for Brazil. Progress is good. I'm pulling an all-night study session for my Sexuality and the Law exam and all I've been doing for hours is reading vicious homophobic court opinions filled with intellectual dishonesty, thinly-veiled disgust, open contempt, and logical circles. This is great. Now I feel justified in skimming MeFi instead of studying. Well done, Brazil. OK, back to drawing testicles next to all the Scalia dissents.
posted by prefpara at 1:51 AM on May 8, 2011 [26 favorites]


"Discrimination generates hatred".... that's one smart judge Brazil has.
posted by easily confused at 1:58 AM on May 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


How are they defining "stable"? Great news whichever way, though.
posted by Solomon at 2:12 AM on May 8, 2011


How are they defining "stable"? Great news whichever way, though.

As 'would qualify for marriage if the couple were hetrosexual'. It's one of these only the name changes from marriage deals.
posted by jaduncan at 2:14 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


But seriously, its Brazil. Would you have expected anything different from a country with Carnaval?

Hey, last time I looked, there was this little thing down in New Orleans called "Mardi Gras".

LET'S GET ON WITH IT, AMERICA!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:23 AM on May 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


I wonder if conservative types will now stop getting Brazilian waxed as a form of protest.
posted by Bromius at 3:15 AM on May 8, 2011


conservative types don't get Brazillians, they keep things the way god intended. ugh.
posted by marienbad at 3:18 AM on May 8, 2011


Religious and public ceremonies will not be allowed.
This line is in the article without comment or explanation, and I wonder what practical effect it implies.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:03 AM on May 8, 2011


I wonder if conservative types will now stop getting Brazilian waxed as a form of protest.

Freedom fuzz?
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:20 AM on May 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


aeschenkarnos This line is in the article without comment or explanation, and I wonder what practical effect it implies.

I think it means that gay couples don't have marriage equality, basically - although it's a very good start. Two men or two women can't have religious marriage ceremonies, or ceremonies that look like marriage ceremonies with a public official attending. What they can do, if their relationship meets the criteria, is be registered as partners for official purposes, and get recognition of partner status, without having to go through the courts to get it. This bundles up a bunch of entitlements, essentially. You could actually register with a notary public as a same-sex couple already - the first one happened in 2004.

Previously, same-sex couples had to seek individual recognition of partner status for various different benefits (pension, residency and so on), or were offered rights on an individual basis by different bodies. Public employers (state-owned companies, diplomatic staff) were starting to recognise notarised civil unions for the purposes of benefits and pension entitlements. This ruling, as I understand it, forces all public sector agencies to recognize the status as legally equal to marriage, makes any private sector agency that doesn't vulnerable to litigation and forces notaries public to register same-sex couples who fit the criteria.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:46 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]



I wonder if conservative types will now stop getting Brazilian waxed as a form of protest


The conservatives were for Bush, remember?

Seriously, this is great news. I am seeing gay marriage as similar to women voting -- extremely controversial at the moment, adopted slowly and place by place, and yet with more and more momentum over time. While I wish I could clap my hands and make things perfect instantly, it's incredibly gratifying every time one more state or country makes this step.

Just yesterday I was reading an article in the Times about some deportations being halted while the courts take up the recognition of gay marriages. I wish the progress here was faster, and I'm sure there will be some huge setbacks, but I can't help but be amazed at how much things have moved in the last decades. Seriously, fifteen years ago I could never have imagined that I would know numerous legally married gay couples, to the point where it just seems like a normal part of life. I was pessimistic about the idea back then, and I was flat out wrong.

At the risk of brutalizing a beautiful language, parabens para Brasil!
posted by Forktine at 4:57 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah, Forktine, isn't it lovely to be wrong, sometimes? :))

Legal same sex marriage seemed a long time coming here in the Netherlands (and yes, it did take centuries), but it only took 6 years after the first major political push to achieve full equality.

For Brazil, this is the first major hurdle. The rest will follow.
posted by likeso at 5:06 AM on May 8, 2011


Oops, meant to include the link to neushoorn's excellent FPP on the 10-year anniversary.
posted by likeso at 5:13 AM on May 8, 2011


Hey, last time I looked, there was this little thing down in New Orleans called "Mardi Gras".

For most of New Orleans, Mardi Gras is a family holiday. In the French Quarter, it is mostly women exposing their boobies.

A better comparison would be "In American, we have Halloween in West Hollywood."
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:23 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


For most of New Orleans, Mardi Gras is a family holiday.

For most of Rio, Carnaval is a family holiday. But point taken on Halloween in West Hollywood.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:25 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now we just need to see if this destroys straight marriage as we know it in Brazil. If it doesn't, then the Family Resources Council will surely apologize and start to lobby for marriage equality.

Although, I think they're more concerned about gay marriage because it destroys the last vestige of marriage being an asymmetrical arrangement they fondly remember, with a dominant male who makes the money and a submissive female who tends to the children and the household. They're so into this "traditional" marriage, they assume that in gay marriage, one person must be "butch" and the other person must be a "femme."
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2011


An excellent start, and an important victory in a place so dominated by the Roman Catholic Church.

Still, "Equality is complete.[...]All rights of heterosexual people are valid for homosexuals."

Except, of course, for getting married, whih homosexuals are still prohibited from doing. Separate but equal is not equal, and contrary to what judge said equality is not complete until gay people can get **MARRIED** not merely civil unionized.

Still and all, an excellent step in the right direction, and one more nation doing what America has failed to do yet.
posted by sotonohito at 6:15 AM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


A better comparison would be "In American, we have Halloween in West Hollywood."

God. Bless. America.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2011


sotonohito: Oh, no doubt. But I smiled at the news anyhow.
posted by jaduncan at 7:14 AM on May 8, 2011


Way to head in the right direction, Brazil! Thanks!
posted by rtha at 8:47 AM on May 8, 2011


mccarty.tim: Now we just need to see if this destroys straight marriage as we know it in Brazil. If it doesn't, then the Family Resources Council will surely apologize and start to lobby for marriage equality.

"Sure, let a bunch of Godless third-world Hispanics* do what they want. Not in God's own U. S. of A.!!"

*Yeah, I know.

But closer to home - we've had marriage equality up here for over five years and the roof hasn't fallen in. Seems only to have increased the fervor with which its American conservative opponents are fighting it (see also: public health care).
posted by hangashore at 9:03 AM on May 8, 2011


Marvellous news. And always good to see the malign forces of darkness take a righteous kicking. Suck it, Benedict.
posted by Decani at 9:42 AM on May 8, 2011


But seriously, its Brazil. Would you have expected anything different from a country with Carnaval?

A Latino country with severe homophobia and conservative religions, oh but let's just ignore that because they have Carnaval.
posted by Neekee at 11:08 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Sure, let a bunch of Godless third-world Hispanics* do what they want. Not in God's own U. S. of A.!!"

*Yeah, I know.


Portuguys?
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:19 AM on May 8, 2011


I wouldn't say that brazil has severe homophobia. I generally think homosexuals are fairly accepted in most of brazil.
posted by LouieLoco at 11:26 AM on May 8, 2011


Way to go Brazil!
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Accentuating the positive: one reason this has happened is that people brought cases saying that they were entitled to equality and dignity in their treatment by their homeland. They argued that the wording of what constituted a legal partnership was written by people who did not understand that in the future it would discriminate against some of their citizens in a way they had not anticipated or intended. And the legislature agreed.

This is why social conservatives are terrified of "activist judges", and why homophobes call themselves "strict constitutionalists". It's why the constitutionality of Section 3 of the federal Defence of Marriage Act is going to be defended to the death - not because the founders sought to guard against men marrying men or women marrying, but precisely because the founders didn't care about men marrying men, any more than they cared to protect the fledgling union from Martian infiltrators. And, once that's clear, the rest is just dominoes.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:51 AM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


(women marrying women, even.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:25 PM on May 8, 2011


Separate but equal is not equal, and contrary to what judge said equality is not complete until gay people can get **MARRIED** not merely civil unionized.

I want to get gay married in the USofA, but I'd be satisfied with a civil union that granted us all the benefits and legal equivalences of marriage. At least in Brazil they have that going on. When will it happen here? In my lifetime? Who the hell knows the way things are going?
posted by blucevalo at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2011


I love seeing any sign that the world is making progress-- slowly but surely.
posted by Simpsolover at 12:42 PM on May 8, 2011


Minnesota Rep. Steve Simon: How many gays must God create before we accept that he wants them around?
posted by marienbad at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have often heard it said in queer political circles that Latin American countries will be much slower to embrace equality than separation-of-church-and-state-loving America due to how deeply Catholic they are.

Argentina, Mexico City, and Brazil would like to laugh at you now.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:24 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love seeing any sign that the world is making progress-- slowly but surely.

Brazil is, of course, the world's 5th most populous country.

Let's see who's above them on the list, to take progress further: Indonesia, hm, not in a Muslim country. US? No, too divided; too addicted to wedge politics. India - over a billion people, mostly rooted in ancient tradition, especially the rural majority. China: OK, can't even take this possibility seriously.

Looks like Brazil will have to carry the flag for the foreseeable future. At least it's an extra 2.76% of the global population with equal rights.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:57 PM on May 8, 2011


Meanwhile, in South Africa:

JOHANNESBURG: A 13-year-old girl has become the latest victim of ''corrective rape'' as the trend of violent attacks on lesbians shows no signs of letting up [...]

The latest victim was said to have been open about her sexuality and was raped on Thursday in Pretoria, presumably as an act of ''corrective rape'' - so called, when men rape a woman to try to ''fix'' her homosexual orientation.

posted by UbuRoivas at 2:03 PM on May 8, 2011


Let's see who's above them on the list, to take progress further: Indonesia, hm, not in a Muslim country. US? No, too divided; too addicted to wedge politics. India - over a billion people, mostly rooted in ancient tradition, especially the rural majority. China: OK, can't even take this possibility seriously.

How many more stereotypes can you trot out? Hmm, Pakistan, also a Muslim country (and a hotbed of turmoil besides). Hmm, Nigeria, both a Muslim country and a Christian country -- double whammy. Bangladesh, well, nothing progressive ever happens in Bangladesh. Russia -- are you kidding me? Japan -- another 1.84% of the world mired in medieval superstition and cant.
posted by blucevalo at 2:06 PM on May 8, 2011


Also, last time I checked, gay marriage wasn't legal in Australia. And Julia Gillard doesn't exactly love the concept of gays getting married.
posted by blucevalo at 2:13 PM on May 8, 2011


How many more stereotypes can you trot out?

Well, I've spent time in all of those countries, for a start. To give just one example of the kind of conservatism you encounter, when India hosted Miss World just a few years ago, they had to hold the swimsuit part of the competition in the Seychelles, because Indian women were threatening to immolate themselves, as women parading in swimsuits were seen to be such a grievous affront to traditional values.

Bear in mind that the majority of the Indian population is still village-based, and there's considerable tension in values between them & the rapidly-rising urban elites. Gay marriage is not the hill that any Indian politician would be willing to die on.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:16 PM on May 8, 2011


Didn't mean to imply that this wasn't something to celebrate, it absolutely is. We just can't allow ourselves to think it means the job is done though.

As for the USA, yeah, we're so far behind the curve on this it's revolting. And I don't see it changing anytime soon.
posted by sotonohito at 2:16 PM on May 8, 2011


Also, last time I checked, gay marriage wasn't legal in Australia.

Same wedge politics as in the US. But there are legal "civil unions" in NSW, ACT, Victoria & Tasmania, which are recognised by the Federal government. That's basically half the states & territories, including the two largest - NSW & Victoria alone account for around 50% of the entire population.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:21 PM on May 8, 2011


Well done, Brazil! Equality under the law is an essential component of human rights, and will make it easier for social changes to take root.

And yeah, I wish Australia would learn from your example.
posted by harriet vane at 9:13 PM on May 8, 2011


running order squabble fest: "Portuguys?"

The correct term would be Lusitanic, but I never saw anyone using it.

LouieLoco: "I wouldn't say that brazil has severe homophobia. I generally think homosexuals are fairly accepted in most of brazil."

I think you're delusional, but can you please convince the Brazilian Senate of that to stop them from passing that stupid anti-discrimination law that is nothing more than a major violation of free speech in disguise?
posted by falameufilho at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2011


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