Until this past week, new fathers in Brazil got just five days of paid maternity leave from work to help tend for their child. This changed when the Brazilian social security agency held that Lucimar da Silva is entitled to the four months of maternity leave after he and his partner adopted a baby. The court determined that de Silva should receive the same amount of leave that a new mother would receive after giving birth.
De Silva and his partner argued that at least one of them should be granted the same amount of time for maternity leave, four months, as a new mother. The agency hearing the case agreed, as the same parental functions of caring for the new child would be performed by de Silva. An agency spokesman said “However unusual it may seem to grant maternity leave to a male person … this hypothesis is possible when the father takes care of the newborn.”
The Brazil Supreme Court in 2011 held that gay and lesbian persons are entitled to every legal right that a heterosexual person is entitled to. Under this precedent, the social security agency found it to be discriminatory to not grant maternity leave in de Silva’s case. However, the agency’s ruling is not in itself precedential. Each same-sex male couple in the future must individually petition the state to maternity leave. However, lesbian couples are already granted the four month paid maternity leave without the petition requirement.
Regardless of the legal precedential value of this decision, the social precedent is enormous. Granting a male couple maternity leave shows the social and domestic value of same-sex gay couples. It also attests to the fact that same-sex couples can, and are expected to, care for their children in the same way heterosexual couples can. Maternity leave for gay fathers will continue to add to the momentum of equal civil rights for gay and lesbian people in Brazil.
There are multiple legal complexities that come with getting married; even more for same-sex couples. Besides the taxation issues, potential employment issues, and other issues regulated by the federal government via DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), marriage for same-sex couples brings many obstacles to the table. One such obstacle is divorce. Divorce is the final separation of a legal marriage where the marital assets are divided, but if your state doesn’t recognize your marriage, how can you legally get a divorce?
Maryland is a vibrant and diverse state, so it makes sense that in February 2012 the Maryland General Assembly passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act to legalize same-sex marriage, which was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on March 1, 2012. The progression of the law was halted by a political challenge that landed the law via referendum on the 2012 general election ballot to be held on November 6, 2012. While the law granting same-sex marriages is in limbo until November, where do Maryland same-sex couples seeking divorce stand? What are their options? For example, if a same-sex couple is married in DC, move to Maryland, and wish to get a divorce about establishing legal residency in Maryland, do they have to wait to get that divorce until the general election? The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that same-sex divorces can be granted in Maryland even though same-sex marriages are not yet legal in the state.
In the May 18 ruling, the high court stated that, “A valid out-of-state same-sex marriage should be treated by Maryland courts as worthy of divorce, according to the applicable statues, reported cases, and court rules of this state.” This decision in Port v. Cowan lends tremendous support for the push to legalizing same-sex marriage. A ruling that recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages grants rights and protections to same-sex couples that otherwise would not have existed. This is another step in the state-wide acceptance of same-sex marriage, which could culminate in the voter acceptance of the marriage equality bill this November.
The family law attorneys at Luxenberg & Johnson, PC have strong expertise in all areas of domestic relations:
- Divorce negotiations, settlement and litigation
- Collaborative law
- Alimony and spousal support
- International family cases
- Child custody and support
- Best interest of the children
- Property identification, valuation and distribution
- Pre-nuptial agreements
- Agreements while married
- Separation and settlement agreements
- Domestic violence and spousal abuse
We define “FAMILY” in the broadest possible terms to include:
- Close and extended families
- Blood relatives
- Couples in formal marriages, with or without children
- Couples in civil unions, with or without children
- Couples in common law marriages, with or without children
- Couples living together
- Friends choosing to live together
We help you protect your family and yourself, by providing legal services that focus on your family. This blog is dedicated to empowering our clients, and the general public, when approaching their family law matters. Whether you are getting a divorce, seeking custody of your child, trying to handle domestic violence issues, or any other domestic relations matter, we do what we do for you.