Brazil’s Congress is finally catching up with the country’s courts: The human-rights committee in the South American country’s Senate approved a bill yesterday that would define civil unions as between two people, without specifying gender. It was last year that the judiciary ruled same-sex couples could enter into civil unions—the bill simply enshrines in the legal code what various jurisdictions have already been allowing. (Some state courts have allowed these unions to become full-fledged marriages.)
It’s an important step for the measure, which the AP says has been languishing in the legislature for 16 years. But the bill must still face other Senate committees and go to a full vote before the entire Congress.