BRASILIA, May 6, 2011 ( – Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal has ruled that homosexual unions are equivalent to the “stable unions” of heterosexuals under national law, despite the Brazilian Constitution’s clear limitation of such unions to heterosexual couples.

“Stable unions,” which are roughly equivalent to “civil unions” in English-speaking countries, are arrangements “between a man and a woman”  who live together “as a family entity” according to article 226 of the Brazilian Constitution. Couples in stable unions have access to over one hundred privileges also given to married couples.

But the judge who had principal charge over the case, Carlos Ayres Britto, justified extending the explicitly heterosexual language to homosexual couples based on the Constitution’s prohibition of discrimination based on sex, and the fact that the Constitution does not prohibit homosexual relations.

“In the understanding of the judge, if gay unions are not prohibited by Brazilian legislation, they are automatically permitted, and because homosexual unions are permitted, they should have the same rights guaranteed for stable unions of heterosexuals,” wrote the Brazilian newspaper Estadao to summarize Britto’s reasoning.

Maria Berenice Dias, vice president of the Brazilian Institute of Family Law, told the press that the decision would extend to homosexual couples 112 rights and benefits that were formerly only recognized for heterosexual couples in stable unions.

The new ruling is expected to grant homosexual couples a stronger legal basis for adopting children, as well as partner pension benefits, inheritance rights, tax benefits, social insurance benefits, and even days off following the initiation of the union.

The court’s ruling comes after years of failed attempts by homosexualist organizations and politicians to establish gay civil unions through the national legislature.

As LifeSiteNews recently reported, a strong majority of Brazilians, 60 percent, reject the establishment of such unions. Their representatives have repeatedly voted against homosexual civil union legislation.

Conservatives complained that the homosexualist lobby would stop at nothing to force their agenda into law despite public opposition.

“To those who defend abortion and homosexual ‘marriage’ the means employed to achieve their goals is of little importance,” wrote pro-family activist Fr. Luiz Lodi da Cruz in mid-April, before the decision was issued.

“If the National Congress, composed of representatives of the people, refuses to approve a bill that permits abortion…or a ‘civil union,’ ‘registered couple’ or ‘marriage’ for people of the same sex…they will have recourse to the judiciary to substitute for the legislature.”