Though many strides have been made in recent years for gay rights in Brazil there are still areas where little to no progress has been made. “Since the country adopted its new constitution in 1988, the national congress has not approved a single bill on LGBT matters,” wrote Toni Reis in this article analyzing the challenges facing Brazil’s gay rights movement. A proposal that would criminalize homophobia has divided legislators and on Thursday the debate over the bill got a little too ugly.
According to Folha.com:
Senator Marinor Brito (PSOL-PA) and Rep. Jair Bolsonaro (PP-RJ) traded insults and almost got into a physically altercation… after the Human Rights Committee of the House suspended the vote of the controversial bill that criminalizes homophobia in the country.The pamphlet held by Bolsonaro made several questionable accusations such as alleging that the government would “indoctrinate” homosexuality to first grade students. According to the legislator this would make “our children easy victims for pedophiles.”
The incident began at the end of the session when Bolsonaro stood behind Senator Marta Suplicy (PT), creator of the project, while she gave an interview.
The legislator, along with other parliamentarians, had several “anti-gay” leaflets in his hands.
An irritated Marinor tried to remove several of the pamphlets held above Suplicy’s head by Bolsonaro. “(This) homophobic criminal is using public funds for these booklets”.
The MP responded by saying that the senator would have to prove his allegations.
Scare tactics from Bolsonaro aside, several MPs opposed to the bill are worried that it could unfairly punish religious figures publicly opposed to homosexuality. Yet Suplicy pointed out that the proposal excludes "cases of peaceful demonstration of thought based on freedom of conscience and belief." Nonetheless, she supported tabling the bill in order to seek a compromise with “evangelical” legislators.
Online Sources- Diario de Pernamubuco, Folha.com, GlobalPost, The Guardian