A top judicial panel paved the way for same-sex marriage in Brazil today, ruling that homosexual couples could not be denied form applying for and subsequently receiving marriage licenses.
The National Council of Justice, which is responsible for overseeing the Brazilian judicial system and is led by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, announced that government offices that issue marriage licenses did not possess the right to reject gay couples.
“This is the equivalent of permitting homosexual marriage in the nation of Brazil,” said Raquel Pereira de Castro Araujo, the lead executive of the human rights committee of the Brazilian bar association.
The Brazilian Congress, which is home to a strong religious faction that vehemently opposes same sex marriage, has yet to approve a law permitting gay marriage. Moreover, the council’s rulings are subject to appeal before the nation’s Supreme Court.
That said, Supreme Court Justice Joaquim Barbosa claimed no reason for the government’s marriage licensing offices to sit back and wait for the nation’s Congress to pass a law permitting same-sex marriage before lengthening the right to the homosexual population.
Mr. Barbosa noted that the Brazilian Supreme Court in 2011 recognized stable homosexual unions, ruling that the nation’s constitution guaranteed them the same rights as straight couples.
“Do we need to require the approval of a new law by the Congress to bolster a decision that was already upheld by the Supreme Court? It does not make any sense,” he said in a slew of comments quoted by the G1 news website.
The Brazilian Supreme Court’s decision “is binding” and should be followed by the lower court system, he claimed.
A few offices have granted marriage licenses to homosexual couples while others have not. While some state courts have recognized same-sex marriages, the council’s ruling was the first to establish a national standard. “Because the Congress is so slow and does not decide, the judicial branch took the reins,” said Luiz Kignet, a family lawyer in Sao Paulo. “The law is required, the judicial branch is not suppressing the obligation to create a law,” he said.
However, the law is saying that same-sex marriage is constitutional, and the council’s decision should accelerate the passing of a law to permit homosexual marriage.
In theory, the council’s ruling may be challenged by the Supreme Court, but it is unlikely to, claims Kignet, saying it had reached the proverbial of point of no return.
Source: Human Rights Campaign