Gay marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, and between then and 2015, the number of same-sex couples that opted to formalize their relationships grew 52 percent. During the first year of the law, 3,700 couples were married. In 2014 that number climbed to 4,854 and by 2015, it was at 5,614. Data regarding 2016 is not yet available.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics revealed some interesting details about the marriages that took place in 2015. For example, most of those unions were between women (53.1 percent, comparing to 46.9 percent of men). In terms of region, the Southeast leads (54 percent) followed by the South (15.2 percent), the Northeast (18.6 percent), the Midwest (7.1 percent), and finally the North (4 percent). The vast majority of new marriages were between single people (77 percent of women and 86.7 percent of men), as opposed to divorced individuals going for a second marriage.
Same-sex marriages rose five times (15.7 percent) more than opposite-sex marriages (2.7 percent) last year, and represent 0.5 percent of all marriages in Brazil. One of the driving factors for gay couples seeking to formalize their unions is the securing of equal rights, for example in case of divorce or a partner’s death.
If the law is considered another example of Brazil’s social progress, the reality is a little less clear. Data reveals that one gay person is murdered every 28 hours in Brazil. There is also concern that some of the acquired rights might be lost in the future, as we now have one of the most conservative governments in Brazilian history. Many politicians are backed by religious groups who believe that traditional values are under attack by what they refer to as the “gay dictatorship.”