Three Brazilians have taken the first step in redefining civil unions in that country. The assistance of a sympathetic public notary made it possible.
The Portuguese language, which is the official language of Brazil, doesn't include a word for three people being married or engaging in a civil union so the public notary, Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, had to create one.
An English translation of "uniao poliafetiva" would be polyfidelitous union, and appears to be more a simple descriptor, rather than a "word" for the civil union which was recently performed as reported at CNN, UPI, and KTLA.
While Brazil appears to be known for progressive ideas, the unidentified trio's union has ignited a storm of disapproval by religious groups and also by at least one attorneys' association.
The head of the family law committee of one association of lawyers is Regina Beatriz, and she is quoted as stating "This union is void of any legality."
In Brazil, marriage is defined by law as a union between two people, she added.
"The purpose of this (union) is not to build families, but to destroy them," was a statement released by a conservative religious group, Plinio Correa de Oliveira Institute.
Brazilian Institute for Family Law director, Rolf Madaleno, suggests "The action carried out does not provide protections and does not confer rights," and is nothing more than the man and two women living together are self defining themselves as a trio.
Domingues suggested there is nothing preventing the three from being granted the same rights under Brazil's "stable union" law as same sex partners are being given. The Supreme Court of Brazil ruled that a "stable union" couple have the same rights as a traditional heterosexual couple.
Domingues counters those opposed to the trio's union by suggesting: "By registering them, I only confirmed that they recognize themselves as a family," she said. "I don't confer rights to them. That is up to a judge to decide."
The choice of the unidentified trio of Domingues as the public notary of choice was not an accident. Domingues is studying family law at the University of Sao Paulo as a Doctoral student. Her planned dissertation is one which asserts "how you can love more than one person at the same time."
As it turns out, this may only be the first of a series of the registrations of polyfidelitous unions, as Domingues is studying the cases of a quintet of three women and two men, and another trio of two men and one woman.
While this may defy all of the normal definitions of legally defined relationships, will it be able to stand up to the test of time? Will they need to have a plan for a Silver or Golden anniversary?