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Brazil high court criminalizes homophobia

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Brazil high court criminalizes homophobia

The Supreme Court of Brazil has ruled that it would outlaw discrimination based on sexuality or gender in a victory for LGBTQ rights worldwide and a rebuke against current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro has had a history of making anti-LGBTQ statements.

The Brazil Supreme Court and LGBTQ rights

A majority of the Brazilian high court had said Thursday that Congress had acted unconstitutionally in its failure to include homophobia and transphobia in its anti-discrimination statutes.

The Supreme Federal Court spoke on two cases brought to them by the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites, and Transsexuals (ABGLT) and the Popular Socialist Party in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Both cases argued that Congress was delaying on criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The high court originally considered the cases in February with four justices declaring that such behavior should be criminalized.

On Thursday, two more justices agreed with this position, creating a majority in the high court.

While the court overall has yet to issue an official ruling, the remaining five justices who will vote on June 5 will not have the majority to overturn it.

Brazil lawmakers supporting LGBTQ rights

Ironically, the Brazilian senate commission on Constitution Justice and Citizenship had earlier voted in favor of a bill to criminalize homophobia and transphobia.

The lawmakers had also earlier asked the high court to suspend ruling on the cases with the bill undergoing processing through the Brazilian lower legislative chamber.

However, the high court voted 9 to 2 to continue with their deliberations.

Justice Celso de Mello said last February that: “There is nothing more illegitimate than drafting a constitution without the will to fully carry it out and to only apply the points that are convenient for majority groups.”

Brazil had legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, allowed same-sex couples to adopt in 2015, and hosts the world’s largest gay pride parade.

However, it remains a dangerous country to be LGBTQ with 320 people victims of homophobic or transphobic homicides in 2018 and 126 so far this year.

Brazilian opposition against LGBTQ rights

Among those that opposed proposed changes to legislation supporting LGBTQ rights are members of Brazil’s evangelical Christian lobby.

Likewise, Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has been on record saying in an interview with Playboy magazine in 2011 that he “would not be able to love a homosexual son.”

Declaring himself as a “proud homophobe,” he said that he would “rather have a son of mine die in an accident than show up with someone with a mustache. To me he would be dead anyway.”

Some fear that Bolsonaro may reverse these advances in gay rights as he has already removed LGBTQ concerns from the responsibilities of the Brazilian human rights ministry.

He also said that Brazil must not become a “gay tourism paradise.”

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