Supreme Court of Brazil rules Homophobia as a crime

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It has been ruled by the Brazilian Supreme Court on June 13, 2019 that homophobia must be criminalized under the existing legislation until the Congress makes a specific law for the subject while weighing on a topic that has drawn the attention of President Jair Bolsonaro. The jury consisted of 11 justices and out of them eight voted to treat in the same way as racism under the Brazilian Law while making it a criminal act.

Justice Gilmar Mendes said, “Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential to human beings, to the self-determination to decide their own life and seek happiness”. It was during the deliberations in the court last month, it was clearly indicated that most justices would rule in favour of criminalizing homophobia, but Bolsonaro had criticized the court. The President had accused the justices of legislating from the bench and suggested that they appoint an evangelical Christian to the Super Court.

It was the evangelicals and other socially conservative Brazilians that helped Bolsonaro win 2018 elections as he had promised to overturn the years of liberal social policies including rights for the same-sex couples. Bolsonaro is a catholic who was baptized by an evangelical pastor while on a trip to Israel about three years back. He had a history of making homophobic, sexist and racist public remarks before he took office in January.

In an earlier interview, the President had said that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

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