The country with the largest Catholic population in the world, in defiance of the Church, has legalized same sex unions. Brazil's Supreme Court on Thursday recognized the legal rights of homosexual partners in "stable" civil unions, Chief Justice Cezar Peluso announced.
The 10 justices unanimously ruled that partners in a same-sex union had the same legal rights as a man and woman in a marriage.
"Those who opt for a homosexual union cannot be treated less than equally as citizens," Justice Camen Lucia said.
"No one should be deprived of rights on the basis of sexual orientation," added Justice Ricardo Lewandowski.
President Dilma Rousseff's Attorney General Roberto Gurgel had backed the plan granting gays and lesbians the right to form civil unions, and on guaranteeing them the same legal rights as other couples.
A lawsuit was lodged by Rio state Governor Sergio Cabral, who wanted to give all state employees the same rights, and the attorney general's office.