Three Brazilian women in a polyamorous relationship were joined in a civil union last month, and plan to fight for legal recognition of their arrangement. The trio, who wish to remain anonymous, "wed" in the presence of a notary public in early October, though Brazil's anti-bigamy law bars them from formal marriage, along with the legal privileges that it grants.
Registering a civil union in Brazil simply requires establishing that applicant share an address and a bank account.
Attorney Fernanda de Freitas Leitao said the threesome's union "is not just symbolic," however, because it defines "how they intend to have children." The women, described by AFP as "a businesswomen and a dentist who are both 32 and a 34-year-old office manager," plan to start a family soon. "We want to enjoy the same maternal rights that everyone else has," one of the women said.
While Brazil is a heavily Catholic country with a growing Evangelical Christian population, polyamory is actually not uncommon in popular culture there, with poly relationships showcased on two popular telenovelas and a reality TV series right now. And in 2012, a man and two women became the first Brazilians to pledge their love in a three-way civil-union ceremony.
A 2003 law in Brazil led to legal recognition of same-sex unions, and later marriages. In 2011, Brazil's Supreme Federal Court sanctioned same-sex marriages by pronouncing that all current marriage laws must apply equally to opposite- and same-sex couples. And in 2013, the Justice National Council passed a resolution saying that notary publics, who proceed over marriage proceedings in Brazil, cannot refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples.
Leitao asserts that "all the principles and fundamentals" of the 2011 ruling "can also be applied to polyamorous relationships." If his clients seek privileges like the ability to declare joint income for tax purposes or join a healthcare plan together as spouses, he told AFP, "they could obtain them—and I think they will."