Mass Weddings in Rio de Janeiro
Nearly 2,000 Brazilian couples were married at an indoors sports venue in Rio de Janeiro, in the biggest mass wedding in the city’s history. The annual event, promoted by the local authorities, is aimed at helping low-income couples who cannot afford to pay for a wedding.
The authorities in Rio booked special commuter trains for the couples and their guests. An estimated 12,000 people attended the ceremony at the Maracanazinho arena. The arena, next to the Maracanã stadium, will host events at the 2016 Olympics.
Couples with a monthly family income of up to $1000 (2500 reais) were allowed to take part. Volunteer civil judges presided over the ceremony. Couples were also blessed by a Roman Catholic bishop and a Christian evangelical pastor. The event was named “Dia do Sim”, or “I Do Day”.
“We got up at 6 am. There are so many people, and I think we will be here for a while, but I’m very happy,” Emerson Moraes, 34, told O Globo newspaper. Emerson has been with Ana Rosangela Azevedo, 31, since 2010 and earlier this year they decided to formalize their relationship. Some brides had waited for many years to finally tie the knot. Many of the couples took their children to the ceremony.
In another mass wedding event, Rio de Janeiro married 160 gay couples on Sunday, November, 23, in what the state hailed as “the largest collective same-sex civil wedding ceremony in the world.” The event was the fifth mass gay wedding organized by the state program “Rio Without Homophobia” and the state court, which have married a total of 500 gay couples.
“It is an affirmative action to call attention to all of the achievements and challenges in the area of civil and human rights of the gay community,” said Cláudio Nascimento, coordinator of “Rio Without Homophobia”. “Marriage ensures the possibility of a future together. First, having a home, then the possibility to expand the family with the security of being within the laws.”
The Brazilian Supreme Court first recognized same-sex civil unions in 2011 and gay marriage was legalized in May last year. Couples came from different cities in the state for the wedding and said ‘I do’ to the song Emociones sang by transgender actress and singer Jane di Castro, who also formalized her marriage to her partner of 47 years.
[This article was written by Darren Wee for the LGBTI website and by Wendy Urquhart for BBC News and edited by CIE.]