The Brazilian state of SÃ£o Paulo organized a collective ‘gay partnership day’ in which 46 couples had their relationship registered as a civil union, followed by a religious blessing and an all night party.
The event was a partnership between the government of the state of SÃ£o Paulo, its department of justice and the leisure centre of northeastern traditions (CTN) in the city of SÃ£o Paulo.
The event happened late on Friday night (28 September), where 46 couples registered their relationship as a civil union which were also offered to be solemnized by the evangelical pastor Lanna Hold and Reverend Cristiano Valeiro, sponsored by CTN.
The idea of the collective gay partnership day was suggested by CTN, which selected 46 couples from many applicants, of which 31 were lesbian and 15 gay couples.
With the help of the department of justice of the state of SÃ£o Paulo and civil registry streamlined the documentation of couples which had a collective ceremony on Friday.
CTN’s chief executive told the internet portal Terra: ‘The gay community is very present here as well in CTN. We’ve observed that the community has changed a lot. So we thought it would only be fair to recognise what they call for. The religious celebration today marks a feat of this right, for equality, which is a milestone for the recognition of these citizens.’
The first couple to register their union was Priscila Pires da Silva, 24, and Kathrein Marrechi of 31 years, who have been together for two years now.
Prisicila told the daily Diario de SÃ£o Paulo: ‘We wanted to marry for a long time, we saw the opportunity and went for it.’
Katherin explained: ‘We wanted to live together from the start.’
They plan to now convert their civil union into civil marriage through the courts.
Prisicila stated that once they establish civil union they plan to go to court to obtain the right for civil marriage: ‘We’re pioneers, but I believe there is still a long way to go for us to achieve our goal of our rights. We will fight to achieve a civil marriage, this is our first step.’
On June 27, 2011, a SÃ£o Paulo state Judge Fernando Henrique Pinto ruled that a case of two men could convert their civil union into a full marriage. Brazil’s Supreme Court then cleared the way in the following May for the recognition of same-sex civil unions, but stopped short of approving gay marriages.
However the ruling set a precedent in which civil unions could be converted into a full marriage in the state of SÃ£o Paulo and potentially other on a case by case basis.
Kathrein met Priscila after she broke up with from a 10 year long heterosexual relationship, where she had a son who is now finding it difficult to accept her new relationship.
Katherin told journalists: ‘I met her through an aunt when I was separating. I have a 9 year old son, who lives with his father. He knows but doesn’t accept very much. The worst kind of prejudice we have is the one we get from home. Her family is more accepting. I don’t know if the marriage can change that. Its my life, and I’m happy.’
Openly gay federal senator, Jean Wyllys said: ‘Firstly its important to say that what happened here was public recognition of stable unions which could be converted into marriage if this was their wish, as the state of SÃ£o Paulo permits this.
‘The event is also important because it dissociates the idea of civil marriage from religious marriage. We have a right to civil marriage.’
Wyllys also touched upon the symbolic importance that the event was held in centre for northeastern traditions (CTN). The north east of Brazil is a rundown region which has a distinct culture and traditions, many people from the area, known in Portuguese as nordestinos, form poor migrant workers who live in the more affluent south east of Brazil.
After the ceremonies a party took place until the early hours of the morning with variety of entertainment and DJs.