Brazil: hurdles for civil unions

Days after Brazil’s supreme court gave gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples, a gay rights activist still had problems getting his union legally recognized, according to a report in the paper Gazeta do Povo. The activist, Toni Reis, was forced to visit four different registries in the city of Curitiba before finding one that would legalize the union between him and his partner. Reis is president of the Brazilian Association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals. Some of the registries claimed they were waiting for the court’s decision to be published before acting, though the national association of notaries and registrars said such procedures should begin immediately.

According to the news report, the new civil union rule is expected to help eliminate immigration problems faced by Reis’s partner, David Harrad, who is British, and will make it easier for the couple to adopt children, something they’ve been trying to do since 2005. They were among the first couples in the country to take advantage of the court’s decision, and former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called to congratulate them.