By BRADLEY BROOKS Associated Press
SAO PAULO May 6, 2011 (AP)
Brazil's Supreme Court ruled Thursday night that civil unions between same-sex couples must be allowed in this nation with more Roman Catholics than any other.
In a 10-0 vote, with one abstention, the justices said gay couples deserve the same legal rights as heterosexual pairs when it comes to alimony, retirement benefits of a partner who dies, and inheritances, among other issues.
The ruling, however, stopped short of legalizing gay marriage. In Latin America, that is legal only in neighboring Argentina and in Mexico City.
Same-sex civil unions granting some rights to homosexual couples are legal in Uruguay and in some states of Mexico outside the capital. Colombia's Constitutional Court has granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans.
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