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Brazil's supreme court ruled in favor of granting civil unions to gay and lesbian couples Thursday after two days of proceedings over the case.
Minister Luis Fux, who was the first to submit his vote, said he believes that because homosexuality is not a crime, it should not prevent gay people from forming families.
While the court decided not to legalize marriage, some ministers involved said it would be the next step in Brazil.
"There is no escaping the evidence that homosexual marriage is an empirical reality," minister Ricardo Lewandowski said, according to Estadao News.
The lawsuit was filed by Rio state governor Sergio Cabral, who wanted to grant partnership rights and benefits to all state employees, according to AFP.
Additionally, Brazilian attorney general Roberto Gurgel supports legalizing civil unions, and his office joined Cabral in the suit. In South America, Argentina has legalized marriage equality, while Uruguay, which has civil unions, is also considering legalizing marriage equality.