Back in September, OriginalMy made history by registering the first same-sex union on blockchain in Brazil. Now, as a part of a campaign called #LGBTMarriage (#CasamentoLGBT, in Portuguese), we will do much more, and in this post we will tell you exactly what and how.
Let’s start from the beginning and establish something very basic here: LOVE IS LOVE and it must always be celebrated and cherished. Because of that, we couldn’t be prouder to take part in the #LGBTMarriage campaign!
We want to help the LGBTQ + community in Brazil, so same-sex couples who want to celebrate their civil unions and register them on blockchain will be able to do it FOR FREE on our platform until the end of 2018. Want to understand why? Then keep on reading!
In order for you to understand how this can be done and what it entails, I’ll have to go back a little bit and explain some things about how the regulation of same-sex relationships works in Brazil, what can be done with blockchain and how these two are related. As a result, this post will be a little longer than usual and will involve a certain dose of legalese, but I promise I’ll try my best to make it as clear as I can, ok?
The current situation of same-sex unions in Brazil
Although same-sex marriage is permitted in Brazil, it is not governed by any specific law. To make a very long story short, as there is no law saying that it is prohibited or allowed, the Judiciary decided to rule on the issue and establish the precedent. In 2011, the Brazilian Supreme Court that same-sex domestic partnerships (called união estável, or stable union, in Portuguese), were equated with heterosexual ones, and in 2013, the National Council of Justice determined that notary registries had to officialize both stable unions and civil marriages between same-sex couples.
Because we have this “gap” in the legislation, many people in the LGBTQ+ community fear the possibility of losing their rights, especially given the current delicate political climate. We still don’t know if the right to egalitarian marriage can actually be lost, since bills in this sense would most likely be deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, safe is better than sorry, so many couples are anticipating their plans to formalize their partnerships before the end of the year and beginning of the new presidential term on January 1st, 2019. This happens because, even if the rule is changed, it does not reach the marriages and unions already formalized – meaning that those people who already married will not lose their rights.
The #LGBTMarriage (#CasamentoLGBT) campaign
Given this, several couples are anticipating their wedding dates, both for fear of not being able to do so next year, and as a way of ensuring that they do not lose their current rights, such as pensions and access to Social Security.
In the midst of all the uncertainty, the # LGBTMarriage campaign is a beacon of hope. In it, people from all over Brazil are coming together to help LGBTQ + couples formalize their unions before 2019, with many even offering services free of charge. Photographers, makeup artists, florists, lawyers, writers… All together so that love prevails!
And what is this blockchain thing?
To summarize it, blockchain is a different sort of database. Three things make it interesting for us at this point here:
(1) it is distributed, meaning that the data is not all stored in one place, which makes it practically impossible for a blockchain to be hacked or to suffer any kind of censorship;
(2) from the moment something is recorded on it, it cannot be deleted or modified;
(3) the information recorded in it comes with a timestamp, which shows the exact date and time it was added to the system – which means that it creates a strong proof that something existed in a certain way, at a given moment.
You can do a lot of things with this blockchain. You’ve probably heard of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, right? They are some of the things that this technology makes possible. Another interesting possibility, and that is what matters here for us, is that you can SIGN CONTRACTS using the blockchain. Keep this in mind and I’ll explain what it has to do with the #LGBTMarriage, ok?
All right, but what about the marriage?
No, you can’t get married on the blockchain (at least not yet!), since in Brazil a marriage has to be registered at the notary’s office and the couple must undergo a process called “marriage qualification” (similar to the banns of marriage, in English), which can last up to 90 days. However, marriage is not the only way to guarantee rights with your partner. If you do not want to get married, you can formalize a stable union, which follows a much simpler procedure.
The stable union, according to the Brazilian Civil Code, is a “continuous relationship, of mutual, lasting cooperation, of a public character with the purpose of constituting a family” (noting that you don’t need to have children to be considered a family). With it, you will have rights such as the inclusion of your partner in health insurance plans, pensions, benefits, and others.
This stable union can be made official in two ways. The most well-known is the Public Declaration of Stable Union, a public deed done at the Notary Public Office. Although it takes less time than qualifying for marriage, it is somewhat expensive, costing an average of R$ 400,00 in the state of São Paulo (about U$ 100,00). This cost, unfortunately, can be a deterrent for many couples, especially on such a short notice.
The second option, less known, is made by contract – which exactly what Isnaylha Ereshkigal and Kalyna Lord, the couple we mentioned at the very beginning of this post, did back in September. Among all the possibilities to formalize your union, the Private Declaration of Stable Union is the fastest, cheapest and most simple. With it, the couple can simply sign a stable union contract, and later get their signature verified at the notary’s office. It can also be registered at the Document and Titles Registry Office (Cartório de Registro de Títulos de Documentos), if the couple wants to.
Connecting the dots
Now that you know that (a) in Brazil the stable union can be formalized through a contract and that (b) you can sign contracts through the blockchain, perhaps you’ll understand our point here. The Brazilians who wish to formalize their same-sex stable unions can do it FOR FREE until the end of the year using the OriginalMy platform, as part of the #LGBTMarriage campaign!
Note that in Brazil signing the contract this way has the SAME LEGAL VALIDITY as doing it with a paper contract, so the couples who use the platform will have their unions officialized FOR REAL, having the same rights guaranteed! The difference here is that now they get to do it in a few hours, instead of 90 days, and for free!
I’m not bragging or anything, but how awesome is this, really?
Also, you can check out our video, in which we explain a little it more how all of this works! It has English subtitles, so don’t worry!