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Federal prosecutor asks for marriage equality in Brazil

Federal prosecutor asks for marriage equality in Brazil

A federal prosecutor said Wednesday he has asked a judge to order courts across Brazil to perform same-sex marriages, an effort likely to meet strong resistance in the world's largest Roman Catholic country. Prosecutor Joao Gilberto Goncalves Jr. said he filed paperwork Tuesday asking a federal judge to issue an order that would apply nationwide. Brazil's constitution specifies that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, but Goncalves said "it does not make any restrictions against marriage between same-sex couples." "In addition to recognizing their rights as couples, the action is intended to help reduce the prejudice against homosexuals, which is a cause of violence in Brazil," Goncalves said. Although Brazilians often deride gays and lesbians in crude jokes, they are tolerated in big cities, and their flamboyant drag parades are a major draw at Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro and the northeast city of Salvador. Goncalves filed the court paperwork 10 months after the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul became Brazil's first to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. While the issue was controversial locally, it failed to spur national debate. Brazil is the largest Roman Catholic nation in the world, and the church has steadfastly opposed allowing gays to marry.

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