By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com May 14 2013 3:32 PM ET
National marriage equality may be coming to South America's largest country as Brazil's top judge declared Tuesday that government officials issuing marriage licenses have no standing to refuse gay couples.
The edict came from the National Council of Justice, which oversees the nation's judicial system and is led by Joaquim Barbosa, the chief justice of the Supreme Court. The decision was based on a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that authorized gay couples to receive all the rights of marriage, save for the name.
Though the council's decision could be appealed to the Supreme Court, it's a strong indication that Brazil is headed in the direction of national marriage equality (several Brazilian states already offer marriage licenses to gay couples).