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The Associated Press December 10, 2010, 2:21PM ET

Brazil gay couples entitled to pension benefits

The Brazilian government says gay couples in a stable relationship are entitled to the same social security pension benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

The Social Security Ministry says in a Friday statement that the gay spouse of a retiree who dies will now be able to receive the pension payments once received by his or her companion. The policy covers formally registered workers who pay monthly social security fees.

Same-sex marriages are not recognized in Brazil, but 10 years ago a court in the state of Rio Grande do Sul granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance and retirement plans.

Since then, gay couples have been fighting for pension rights.

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