Controversy has been sparked as the first civil union between three separate partners was registered in Tupã, in the Northwestern region of Sao Paulo state, Brazil last week.
According to The Christian Post, the three-person union has shocked religious groups in the country, and sparked further concerns that the traditional family unit is being further eroded by the current day society.
Public notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues granted the wishes of the man and two women, saying there is nothing in law that prevents such an arrangement.
The union was formalised three months ago, but only became public this week.
“We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything,” said Ms Domingues.
“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 notary has explained that the three partners lived together and wanted to publicly declare their status in order to guarantee their rights. Checks were conducted to see if there was any legal impediment to the unions and the notary office has confirmed that none were found.
However, writes The Telegraph, the decision has sparked criticism in the country.
Lawyer Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva told the BBC it was “absurd and totally illegal”, and “something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals”.
Marisa Lobo, a psychologist and evangelical Christian known in Brazil for encouraging reparative therapy laws for homosexuals, said: “My question is: what are these law holders driving at? What is the media driving at? What are these groups driving at by confronting the society with totally distorted values?”
“Notary in SP registers stable union of three people. How can this be? Mankind is lost indeed,” wrote Twitter user Maíra Rabassa.
“Excuse my ignorance: Isn’t this polygamy and, therefore, crime?” questioned another user.
“Notary registers stable union of 3 people. Man accompanied by two women. I don’t know what to say,” expressed the bewildered Yuri Guimaraes.
Tayon Berlanga, the President of the Bar Association of Marilia, a city near Tupã, has confirmed that the document gives rights to the three in regards to the division of property. However, it does not guarantee family rights, such as death benefits, financing in banks, or dependence on health plans, it was claimed, reports Christian Today.
Nathaniel Santos Batista Junior, a jurist who helped draft the document, said the idea was to protect their rights in case of separation or death of a partner.
While Domingues has approved the union, it is not clear whether courts, service providers and private companies such as health insurance providers will accept the ruling.
Same sex unions have become legal in Brazil since 2004. A same-sex couple may convert their civil union into marriage with the approval of a state judge. In July 2011, a judge in Sao Paulo approved the country’s first gay marriage, when he ruled two men could convert their union.