A Brazilian man in a homosexual union has been granted four month "maternity leave" by the country's social security agency. The decision to grant a man "maternity leave" is a first in the nation's history, sparking some debate as to the morality of such a decision.
The man, from Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil, was granted the maternity leave after the social security agency said it was constitutional for the man to be allowed contact with his child and family.
"The Constitution supports the child to have contact with his family," explained Ana Cristina Evangelista, President of Social Security Council, according to G1 publication.
Lucimar Quadros da Silva, along with his companion, Rafael da Silva Gerhard, submitted their request for maternity leave to the Social Security National Institute when they adopted João Vitor nearly two years ago. However, their application was initially denied.
The gay couple, however, decided to appeal against the decision, highlighting the fact that the country had already previously granted a lesbian woman a four month maternity leave license.
Under Brazilian law a mother can be granted four months maternity leave, where as a father can only be granted five days paternity leave. Therefore, when an application was made by two women, they were granted the four month maternity leave immediately without complication. However, the discrepancy occurred where a male couple sought one of the pair to get the longer four month period.
Lucimar Quadros da Silva and Rafael da Silva Gerhard's appeal has taken two years to be processed, having been passed from one department to another. However, the Social Security agency has now unanimously approved their maternity leave license, which will now be taken with the child aged 2 years and 2 months.
"Although it seems unusual to grant maternity leave to a male person (…) this hypothesis is always possible when the father takes care of a newborn (…)," the Council report stated.
Lucimar is now awaiting for his employer to receive official notice of the decision, which should be within the next 10 days, at which time he will be able to take the 120 day maternity leave.
"It is a breakthrough and I hope that with this, other people will be granted it too," he said, according to G1 publication.