Brazil Must Register Gay Unions as Marriages


BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - Brazil's National Council of Justice says notary publics must register same-sex civil unions as marriages if the couple requests it.

The council that oversees the country's judiciary says in a Tuesday statement that notary publics cannot refuse to marry gay couples or convert a same-sex civil union into a marriage.

The council based its decision on a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that recognized same-sex civil unions. The court said at the time that gay couples are entitled to same legal rights as heterosexual pairs when it comes to alimony, retirement benefits of a partner who dies and inheritances, among other issues.

Fourteen of Brazil's 27 states have so far legalized same-same marriages.

For several years, lawmakers have been trying to approve a bill legalizing gay marriage across the nation.

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