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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 19 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 38
Brazil issues three-parent birth certificate
Section One
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Brazil issues three-parent birth certificate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A judge in Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, has issued a birth certificate listing two mothers and a father for a baby girl born on August 27.

Judge Rafael Pagnon Cunha said his ruling would create a legal precedent for the country.

The two mothers have been in a committed relationship for more than four years, and wanted a child. They asked a male friend to be the sperm donor and he agreed, but only on the condition that he would be recognized as the baby's father.

Cunha said all three parents had been involved in the pregnancy and preparations for the birth of the baby girl.

'Being a father and a mother is above all about taking care and fulfilling tasks. I feel sure that for this child the possibility of happiness will be very great,' the judge said.

In addition to the three parents, six grandparents are listed on the child's birth certificate.

Like the United States, marriages in Brazil are regulated by state governments, not the national government. Although Rio Grande do Sul legalized same-sex civil unions in 2004, it was not one of the 14 Brazilian states that allowed same-sex marriage before the May 2013 court ruling that established marriage equality throughout the country.

Prior to that ruling, a 2011 court decision allowed same-sex couples to form what were called 'stable unions' that granted them all the rights of opposite-sex married couples.

A 2010 court decision allowed same-sex couples to adopt children in the same way and under the same conditions as opposite-sex couples, but Judge Cunha's decision goes much farther, in that he recognized a same-sex couple as the natural parents - not merely adoptive parents - of a child.

Brazil affords LGBT residents most of the same civil rights protections as straight Brazilians enjoy.

The federal constitution prohibits all forms of discrimination, but sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly mentioned. The constitutions of at least two Brazilian states protect sexual orientation, but not gender identity. Twenty-three states and more than 70 municipalities protect both orientation and identity by statute.

Gay sex was decriminalized in 1830 and it has never been illegal for LGBT people to serve in the Brazilian military. Trans people are entitled to change their identity cards to reflect their gender identification, and can receive free transition services, including surgery, through the national healthcare system.

On the other hand, anti-LGBT violence is endemic in Brazil.

A 2005 study by the Latin American Center for Human Rights in sexuality found that 65% of LGBT Brazilians reported being targeted by hate speech and/or physical aggression. In 2013, an official in the Brazilian Presidential Office for Human Rights estimated that 44% of the world's anti-LGBT violence occurs in Brazil.

According to Brazilian human rights activists, many anti-LGBT hate crimes are committed by police.

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