Via National Review Online, via the BBC, and now at Breitbart News (how's that for a threesome?), a report has emerged that Brazil has officially recognized a three-person unit as a civil union. The trio--two women and a man--have been recognized as a notary who argues that nothing in Brazilian law prevents her from recognizing the union as valid.
Brazil is not the first to legalize a polygamous union--a similar female-male-female trio was recognized in the Netherlands in 2005--but the new union has added fuel to an international debate about the possible legal consequences of recognizing gay unions or marriages on the basis of equal rights or equal protection of the law.
The comments of the notary who gave official recognition to the union, Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, reflect the way that changes in common understandings of the family have found themselves reflected in law:
Ms Domingues, who is based in the Sao Paulo city of Tupa, said the move reflected the fact that the idea of a "family" had changed.
"We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything."
"For better or worse, it doesn't matter, but what we considered a family before isn't necessarily what we would consider a family today."
The union has roused opposition within Brazil's political and religious institutions--as well as interest abroad.