‘Big Love’ in Brazil: Three-Person Civil Union Approved in Sao Paulo

A recently 'married' Brazilian trio have clearly never heard the saying two's company, three's a crowd.

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Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the country's first three-person union has been sanctioned.

As the issue of gay marriage continues to prompt heated debate in the United States, a different type of controversial union is driving the conversation in Brazil. A Sao Paulo man has entered into a civil union — with two women.

The union was formalized three months ago but only became public this week, as reported by Brazil’s Portuguese-language site G1, part of Globo TV. The trio have largely shied away from public attention, declining to reveal their identities or to speak to the press.

But the government officials who helped approve their union are shedding light on their decision. Nathaniel Santos Batista Junior, a jurist involved in the drafting of the official document, told Globo TV the purpose of the union was fundamentally practical: to ensure the rights of the partners should one of them pass away or separate. The Daily Telegraph reports that the three partners have been living together for the past three years in Rio de Janeiro, where they share a bank account, bills and expenses.

(WATCH: Polygamy in America: Joe Darger and His 3 Wives)

The union was approved by Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, on the basis that there was no law prohibiting it from taking place. Civil unions were introduced in Brazil in 2004, primarily to recognize partnerships between same-sex couples, although it also allows civil unions for heterosexual couples as an alternative to marriage. “We are only recognizing what has always existed. We are not inventing anything,” Domingues said, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph:

“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.”

That stance has been met with fierce criticism, both from legal experts and religious communities. Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva, president of the Commission for the Rights of the Family within the Institute of Lawyers, told the BBC the union was “absurd and totally illegal” and “something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals.” Brazilian psychologist and evangelical Christian Marisa Lobo told the Portuguese-language Christian publication Verdade Gospel that upon hearing of the union, “my faith and my indignation also grew,” according to the Christian Post.

Many are comparing the three-person union to polygamy, which is banned in virtually all Western nations and is specifically prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church, the dominant religious denomination in Brazil. (Brazil has no law for or against the practice.)

In the United States, polygamy has historical ties to the Mormon Church, who adopted the practice in 1852, calling it “plural marriage.” While the mainstream Church eventually dropped polygamy in 1890, it continues to be practiced by fundamentalist Mormon splinter sects. It also remains legal in almost 50 countries in the Muslim world and Africa.

MORE: I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: Polygamy Raises Its Profile in America

17 comments
croutonthegreat
croutonthegreat

I just don't get why this is an issue. This doesn't affect my life in any way, shape or form, so why should I care what some people in another continent are doing?

Kelly Algarin
Kelly Algarin

Its really none of our business. Men have taken more than one wife as far back as the bible goes so who are we to judge.

RobertSF
RobertSF

This could be done in the US right now. Any number of people can sign a legally binding cohabitation contract covering everyone's rights and obligations. It just wouldn't be a marriage as far as the law was concerned. 

Starshiprarity
Starshiprarity

Unfortunately, marriage is where they keep all the legal benefits. A cohabitation contract might bind your responsibility to a mortgage but it won't help you in a divorce, or with an inheretance, child custody, or tax purposes whatsoever.

KaeylynHunt
KaeylynHunt

Once again,WHO CARES?As long as they are Consenting Adults,they take care of themselvesamp;their Children WHO'S BUSINESS IS IT?Answer:NO ONES!Good GRIEF there are entirely TOO many nosy Nellies on this Planet.It's time folks understood that just because YOUR religion doesn't like something that Consenting Adults do,DOESN'T give you the right to dictate how everyone else lives their lives.Sheesh.I couldn't care less what Adults do in their own Lives,have 10 wives or husbands all you want,makes NO difference to me.As long as it DOESN'T involve Child brides,Incest or Domestic Abuse,there's NO sense in people getting SO worked up over OTHER Peoples Lives.Folks who get SO bent out of shape over what other people do with their lives have NO life of their own.Busybodies always love to goamp;make Drama where there ISN'T any.So long as the husband can stand having 2 Wives to support,deal with 2 sets of PMS,no one has any business telling him he can't.Time for people to GROW UPamp;realize they are NOT The "Moral Authority"amp;their chosen deity has NO bearing on someone else.BUTT OUT!The World would be a MUCH more Peaceful Place if people would learn when to MYOB.If they spent a tenth of the time getting enraged over Child Slavery,Human Trafficking,Poverty,Homelessnessamp;doing something about it as they do worrying about what consenting Adults do in the bedroom,the World would be  a virtual Shangri-La!

Collider
Collider like.author.displayName 1 Like

 Society, getting more stupid with every passing year..

marcos_carvalho
marcos_carvalho

 I am sorry, but do you care to explain? I can't see this as stupid since love is not a stupid thing as far as I know.

Ben IncaHutz
Ben IncaHutz

“something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals."  . . ..doesnt Brazil have rainforests that are cut down on a daily basis. Please explain the giant slums of Rio where millions live in poverty. Thanks. 

Ana Lúcia Moura Fé
Ana Lúcia Moura Fé

Yes, Brazil has a very big and beautiful rain forest.

Speaking of.. where's your contry's forests? Oh, wait,  you've burned them all already. Shame

juleswins3
juleswins3

I've wondered forever when this was going to happen with all of the noise about gay marriage. It is not possible to have equal rights for all if gay marriage is legal and polygamy is not. I don't care if government, state or federal, legalizes gay marriage but if it does, polygamy MUST be legalized as well. If it's not, it's absolute discrimination. Polygamy has been accepted in nearly every culture since before history was recorded, gay marriage was not. Polygamy set the precedent for non-traditional marriage, not gay marriage. And remember, there are two types of polygamist marriage: polygyny - one husband and two or more wives and polyandry - one wife and two or more husbands!

Rafael Kafka
Rafael Kafka like.author.displayName 1 Like

And the LGBT people said that civil unions would not open the door to polygamy...

Candance Miller
Candance Miller

 It's not actually polygamy. That's typically one dude getting it on with as many ladies as he can. Since the article says that all the partners are equal which is not the power dynamic of polygamy and seems to imply that the woman also see each other whereas in polygamy each lady is only with the guy, this is more polyamory. But I guess that probably doesn't matter much to you since bigotry just tends to blur everything different into hate.

Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson

Yes, they did. Some of knew they were lying through their teeth when they said it, too.

Freedomlovescompany
Freedomlovescompany

It hasn't opened the door to polygamy. Polygamy existed before this and has always existed. This would have happened even without the LGBT community asking for the rights that all other couples have. This union that was approved, as far as I can tell, is hetrosexual one. Couldn't we say that continued hetrosexual unions in a patriarchial culture have led to this? That blaming would make just as much sense as yours and Kafka's.

Freedomlovescompany
Freedomlovescompany

It hasn't opened the door to polygamy. Polygamy existed before this and has always existed. This would have happened even without the LGBT community asking for the rights that all other couples have. This union that was approved, as far as I can tell, is hetrosexual one. Couldn't we say that continued hetrosexual unions in a patriarchial culture have led to this? That blaming would make just as much sense as yours and Kafka's.

zbecktx
zbecktx

 Let's be entirely clear: polygamy long pre-existed gay marriage.

Rafael Kafka
Rafael Kafka

Tell that to the married gay priests in Ur, Sumer, seven thousand years ago.