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Judge approves Brazil's first gay marriage

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 27 — A Brazilian judge approved two men's converting their civil union into a full marriage Monday, making it the country's first gay marriage.

Sao Paulo state Judge Fernando Henrique Pinto based his ruling on Brazil's Constitution, which states that families, as the base of society, must be protected; on the Supreme Court's ruling, which granted the homosexual couples' right to convert the civil union into marriage; and on a UN resolution against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The couple, Luiz Andre Moresi and Sergio Kauffman Sousa, who registered their civil union on May 17, requested the conversion at a state court in the city of Jacarei, 85 km northeast of Sao Paulo.

They have decided to share their surnames.

"We are now an officially recognized couple. We are very happy," Sousa said.

The official marriage certificate will be handed out on Tuesday, International Gay Pride Day.

In early May, Brazil's Supreme Court ruled that gay couples should be allowed to establish civil unions and be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples. The civil union, while not a marriage, grants similar rights, such as inheritance and pensions.

The judge's ruling can still be reversed by a higher court, but the new couple said they were willing to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/utb

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