BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazilian lawmakers on Friday shelved a draft law that would have prohibited discrimination or inciting violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The measure has been stalled for years in the senate and congress, despite Brazil having one of the highest murder rates of LGBT people in the world.
The bill calls for up to three years in prison for anyone found guilty of such offenses.
Ideli Salvatti, Brazil’s Minister of Institutional Relations, instructed the ruling party’s senators shelve the bill until after next year’s presidential election.
The move comes after Senators managed on Wednesday to read the bill’s report in the Senate’s Committee for Human Rights, despite an attempt by the Evangelical lobby to get members not to attend the meeting so as to invalidate the procedure.
That meant the last hurdle was overcome with an imminent vote due next week in the Senate on the bill, without any further possible delay tactics by the evangelical lobby.
According to reports, Minister Salvatti acted under the instruction of President Dilma Rousseff to prevent this from happening.
The evangelical lobby warned any moves to vote for the bill will be penalized by their crucial voting block.
“There’s no point having coffee with [religious] ministers, visiting churches and after the elections, defend projects against the family, as conceived by God,” said Senator and Baptist minister Magno Malta.
“We will position ourselves against politicians that defend this homosexual ideology. In the [previous] second presidential run-off all the country stood with Dilma, but now nobody will use me again,” warned Malta.
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This year alone, 292 LGBT people have been murdered in Brazil, while 2012 saw a 21 percent increase in murders over 2011.
“Once again the Federal Government headed by President Dilma has given in to pressure by the Evangelical Lobby,” said Luiz Henrique Coletto, Vice President of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil (LiHS) and an independent LGBT activist, in a statement to LGBTQ Nation.
“The bill has been stalled for 12 years has cost so many lives, politicians and religious people delaying this crucial legislation have thus blood on their hands,” said Coletto.
“If this country is not safe for our own people considering anti-gay violence, how can it be safe for people coming for the world cup and the Olympics? I call upon FIFA and IOC to raise this issue immediately with the Brazilian government,” Paulo Roberto, an attorney and member of GADvS (Group of Lawyers for Sexual Diversity), told LGBTQ Nation.
Brazil is scheduled to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.