The ruling makes Brazil one of very few South American nations,
after Argentina and Uruguay, to allow same-sex partnerships, the
The decision was approved by 10-0 with one abstention.
The decision grants gay couples most of the rights enjoyed
by heterosexual partners, including pension benefits, inheritance
and, some lawyers say, possibly the right to adopt
"The freedom to pursue one's own sexuality is part of an
individual's freedom of expression," said Justice Carlos Ayres
Britto, the author of the ruling.