‘English Prince’ celebrates Brazil’s new gay rights

"UK-Brazil relations" getting closer, thanks to David Harrad and Toni Reis

This week LGBT people across Brazil are celebrating after the country’s supreme federal court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) ruled in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.

This will give gay couples in uniões estáveis (stable partnerships) – the same financial and social rights as those in heterosexual relationships.

The ruling stops short of recognising gay marriage, but does allow members of the LGBT community to register their civil partnerships with solicitors and public bodies, giving them proper, equal inheritance and pension rights.

It is hoped that full gay marriage and adoption will follow in time.

The progressive social programme was begun back in 2009 under previous president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

There have been celebrations across the country – including gay couples kissing outside prominent buildings.

This is a huge victory for the LGBT community in Brazil, but a smaller – but nonetheless significant – precedent was set in November 2003, by a judge in the southern city of Curitiba,  Paraná, who recognised the same-sex relationship of national gay activist Toni Reis with British citizen David Harrad.

This was a watershed moment, and thanks to the decision, David was allowed permanent residency in Brazil.

Amazingly, the entire country’s Immigration Service changed its own rules to remove prejudice against same-sex couples just a week later.

The couple, who have been living together for 21 years, are now said to be preparing a big celebration in light of the new gay rights.

Who knows – they might be among the first in line for one of Brazil’s first same-sex civil unions.

Local media have branded Mr Harrad an “English prince”.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have another Royal Wedding on our hands.

Parabéns, Brasil!

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