While the USA sits waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue rulings in Hollingsworth v. Perry (the case challenging Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor (the case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act), Brazil has again demonstrated what equality under the civil laws means as two more states grant full marriage equality to same sex couples. With this action 14 out of Bazil's 27 states and federal district (i.e., 52%) allow full marriage equality while in America - the alleged "land of liberty" and religious freedom, only 10% of the states grant such civil law equality. Also, unlike in the USA under DOMA, gay marriages performed in any state allowing gay marriage are recognized in every state in Brazil. All in all, it is a sad commentary on the USA and underscores the lie that religious freedom extends to all American citizens. Freedom to Marry looks at these latest events in Brazil. Here are highlights:
Yesterday, marriage continued moving forward in Brazil when the Corregedor Geral de Justiça in two additional states - Paraíba and Santa Catarina (Articles in Portuguese) - authorized marriages between same-sex couples. Now, fourteen of the 27 jursidictions in Brazil (13 states and the Federal District) have approved the freedom to marry. Earlier this month, Rio de Janeiro and Rondônia saw similar developments.
In these states (and the federal district), couples can marry in Brazil without the two-step process: Alagoas (December 2011), Sergipe (July 2012), Espíritu Santo (August 2012), Bahía (November 2012), the Brazilian Federal District (December 2012), Piauí (December 2012), São Paulo (December 2012), Ceará (March 2013), Paraná (March 2013), Mato Grosso do Sul (April 2013), Rio de Janeiro (April 2013), Rondônia (April 2013), and now Paraíba and Santa Catarina (April 2013).
Now, nearly 60% of the population of Brazil live in states where same-sex couples can marry without the two-step process.
The news out of Brazil is the latest international victory for the freedom to marry. This month, the legislatures in Uruguay, France, and New Zealand have taken definitive votes to pass the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide.
After marriage legislation takes effect in Uruguay, France and New Zealand, same-sex couples will be able to share in the freedom to marry in 17 countries.
Of course, it is not just in terms of gay marriage that America is lagging behind. Much of Europe provides more upward social mobility, and the USA's position is falling in terms of life expectancy, and our health care system is the most expensive and least cost effective in the world over all. And what's holding America back? The Republican Party and its Christofascist base.