Journal of Civil Law Studies


Brazil, same-sex marriage, civil unions, Brazilian Constitution


The Federal Constitution of 1988 reinstated the democratic rule of law in Brazil. Based on fundamental rights, the “Citizen’s Constitution” shaped the model of a welfare State, which objectives consist in the construction of a free, just and solidary society, the eradication of poverty and substandard living conditions and the promotion of the well-being of all, without prejudice as to origin, race, sex, color, age and any other forms of discrimination. From this context, the constitutional idealization of family democracy emerges, specifically represented in this paper by the recognition of civil union be-tween people of the same sex as family units. The democratization of civil law in matters of family law, beyond the interpretation of the legal norms in force according to the Constitution, demands the understanding of what constitutes each individual (or group) that is recipient of the principles of affection and solidarity. In the historic 2011 ruling, the Federal Supreme Court equated same-sex unions and opposite-sex unions as to rights and duties. However, the Court failed to advance in the unavoidable debate on gender issues.

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