Brazilian Supreme Court criminalizes homophobia

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#1 Edited by nintendoboy16 (36351 posts) -

Yahoo (via AFP)

Brasília (AFP) - Brazil's Supreme Court voted Thursday to criminalize homophobia, an important step for sexual minorities in one of the most dangerous countries for LGBT people in the world.

The Supreme Federal Court (STF), which voted eight to three in favor of the measure, classified homophobia as a crime similar to racism, until Congress -- which is held by a conservative majority and is strongly influenced by evangelical churches -- passes a law specifically addressing such discrimination.

Brazil now joins a growing number of countries in the typically conservative and Catholic-influenced Latin American region that have passed measures in favor of LGBT rights.

"All prejudice is violence. All discrimination is a cause of suffering," said judge Carmen Luzia while voting in favor of the measure.

"But I learned that some prejudices cause more suffering than others."

According to the NGO Grupo Gay de Bahia, which has collected national statistics for the past four decades, there were 387 murders and 58 suicides over "homotransphobia" in 2017, a 30 percent increase from 2016.

This works out to one LGBT death by suicide or murder every 19 hours in Brazil.

The country's highest court considered it neglect of legislative power not to have outlawed such discrimination until now.

But the three judges that voted against the measure insisted that criminalizing homophobia was Congress's job, not the court's.

"Only Congress can approve (the definition of) crimes and penalties; only Congress can pass laws on criminal conduct," said judge Ricardo Lewandowski.

Acts of racism, and now acts of "homotransphobia," in Brazil face one to three years in prison or a fine.

- Religious liberty -

The STF's decision has caused tension within Congress, with some legislators feeling stripped of their powers.

With a large group defending their interest in Congress, the Pentecostal churches -- whose following has grown exponentially in Brazil, the country with the most Catholics in the world -- are expected to try to slow down initiatives such as that passed by the STF.

Criminalizing homophobia could restrict church leaders, many of whom fear being penalized for rejecting same-sex unions by invoking religious texts.

But in the STF's verdict, the court explicitly stated that criminalizing "homotransphobia" will not restrict religious freedom, so long as the churches do not promote "hate speech" that incites discrimination, hostility or violence against people due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Thursday's decision is the latest in a a wave of pro-LGBT rights decisions in Latin America.

Brazil had already legalized same-sex marriage, along with Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay. They were joined most recently by Ecuador, whose highest court on Wednesday approved same-sex marriage in a landmark ruling for the country.

Bolsonaro ruins this in 3... 2... 1...

Avatar image for kadin_kai
#2 Posted by Kadin_Kai (505 posts) -

It’s the right move. I just have no idea why some people will discriminate what others do in their own bedrooms and with whom?

Avatar image for LJS9502_basic
#3 Posted by LJS9502_basic (166636 posts) -

You should ONLY criminalize actions Not thoughts.

Avatar image for KungfuKitten
#4 Edited by KungfuKitten (26664 posts) -

Good, now let's criminalize other phobia too.

"All prejudice is violence."

Avatar image for mrbojangles25
#5 Edited by mrbojangles25 (44045 posts) -

While I appreciate the idea behind this, I can't help be feel that criminalizing homophobia itself is a bit extreme.

Violent action stemming from homophobia? Yes. Discrimination in the work place? Sure. But simply believing it? No, at that point you're swinging the pendulum to the other extreme and policing people's thoughts, and that's no good.

I dislike bigots as much as the next person, but dammit they have a right to their beliefs and opinions like the rest of us.

@KungfuKitten said:

Good, now let's criminalize other phobia too.

"All prejudice is violence."

I'm afraid of spiders...

Avatar image for Jacanuk
#6 Edited by Jacanuk (18616 posts) -

@nintendoboy16: Ruin what?

So here we have a court that oversteps their power by more than the distance between here and the sun. While discrimination against LQBTADZCA's in certain areas should be outlawed, it´s the job of the legislative power, not the judicial branch. Not to mention we are here over in the area of making thoughts illegal which is worse than anything and a direct violation of basic human rights especially article 9 and 10. Also, when do we stop?

Not to mention what kind of insanity is this comment ""All prejudice is violence. All discrimination is a cause of suffering,"

Prejudices are normal, Everyone does it all the time and discrimination happens to everyone all the time..... some liberals really have lost the plot and touch with the real world.

Avatar image for horgen
#7 Posted by Horgen (120645 posts) -

So... Since it goes this far I guess the catholic church has a rather nasty history against homosexuals there.