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    April 22, 2008

    Tough times for Brazilian friends

    Posted by: Chris

    041508_2 My friend Marcos Costa, who blogs at Carioca Virtual, has been drawing attention to an outrageous case of mistreatment inflicted on Jose Ávila, days after the death of Fabio, his partner of 10 years. That's Jose and Fabio in the photo; Jose's on the right.

    Days after Fabio's death, his family met Jose in the street and unceremoniously informed him that since the apartment was in Fabio's name and he died without a will, Jose was no longer welcome. All the belongings inside, accumulated over a decade together, were sealed away as well.

    Jose sued and, to the credit of gay-friendly legal treatment in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, won a temporary order that restored him in the apartment and made him executor of Fabio's estate. But the family fights on, demanding a trial to test Jose's claim of a long-term relationship.

    I have known both Jose and Fabio socially -- a genuine, happy, fun-loving couple like so many I've had the honor to know in my time here. Jose is trying an unusual tactic to prove the relationship: a petition available at Foch clothing stores popular with gay men in Rio, São Paulo and Curitiba. Those who knew the couple are encouraged to sign, providing additional evidence of the legitimacy of their relationship.

    I've never understood how the families of gay men could be so heartless in the treatment of long-term partners, no matter how they felt about the morality of their relationship. Whatever biblical passages they might use to condemn, they violate countless more by acting in such a vicious, mean-spirited manner.

    I'm not sure many readers of this blog can help out in Jose's case, but it's a reminder of why gay couples everywhere need and deserve legal recognition. It's also a reminder why all of us need to take the time to draw up the necessary legal docs to protect our partners, should the unthinkable happen.



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