A gay man in Brazil has been granted maternity leave following the adoption of a child, the first time a gay person has been offered the benefit as part of a civil union, it has been reported.
Lucimar da Silva applied for the leave two years ago when he and his partner adopted the child. The gay man’s “maternity” leave is an interesting circumstance as it highlights both rights pertaining to sexual orientation as well as gender-based inequality that exists to varying degrees in the developed world, and the situation illustrates why not having gender and sexuality parity enshrined in law hurts individual families of all walks of life.
In Brazil, mothers are afforded four months of paid maternity leave and fathers a scant five days. The existence of paternity leave in parts of the world varies, but, in some countries, the mandated leave is far more generous, a benefit to both gay couples and families where both parents have careers and protected leave enables the mother to recover and the father to bond with the child before returning to work within a financial safety net.
According to ABC, the gay man granted maternity leave “argued it would be discriminatory to deny him the longer leave, noting the social security agency has already approved the four-month benefit for same-sex couples in which the partners are women,” and his point is a good one: Families made up of two fathers and their children are discriminatorily impacted by maternity/paternity leave differentials like the one that exists in Brazil.
But the agency that made the decision says the gay man’s paternity leave is not a “precedent” and that such waivers would be granted on a case-by-case basis depending on circumstance.