ONE of the world’s largest mass gay weddings was held last Sunday in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

The unions of 160 same-sex couples were officiated during a ceremony in the Armazém Utopia building.

It was the fifth mass event organised by lobby group Rio Sem Homofobia (Rio Without Homophobia), in conjunction with the Rio de Janeiro State Court.

There were more participants than last year’s ceremony in December, where 132 couples wed.

Same sex civil unions were recognised by Brazil’s Supreme Court in 2011, and same sex marriage was legalised in May last year.

“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 LGBT community,” Rio Without Homophobia coordinator Cláudio Nascimento told Agência Brasil.

Despite the country’s existence of same-sex marriage, Brazil has a history of homophobic violence.

Advocacy group Grupo Gay Bahia recorded 310 LGBTI-related hate crimes in Brazil, and a 21 per cent increase of murders in 2012 from 2011.

During São Paulo’s 18th Gay Pride Parade in May, parade participants advocated for the criminalisation of homophobic-fueled violence.

(Main image credit: Flávia Villela/Agência Brasil)

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