History has been made in Brazil today, as the National Council of Justice has voted 14–1 to support a resolution stipulating that same-sex couples should be able to receive marriage licenses throughout the entire country. In 2011, the Brazilian Supreme Court had ruled that it was unconstitutional to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, but up to this point, local jurisdictions could decide whether to offer the freedom to marry — 12 states and the federal district had already started doing so.
The council’s decision, which will be published sometime in the coming days, advises that no notary can refuse to perform a same-sex marriage. The ruling could, however, be appealed to the Supreme Court. Previous guidance had suggested that Congress needed to pass a marriage equality law, which it is considering, but Minister Joaquim Barbosa suggested this was “nonsense.”
Pending the implementation of this ruling, Brazil will become the 15th country to offer nationwide marriage equality, joining Uruguay and France, who passed laws just last month.