BRASILIA — Brazil’s lawmakers on Wednesday killed a draft bill that would have prohibited discrimination or inciting violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Brazil’s LGBT activists had hoped that if the bill was defeated it could be incorporated into the country’s penal code reform.
But the country’s powerful evangelical lobby blocked the effort with an amendment deleting mentions of sexual orientation and gender identity, which they claimed are neither firm nor stable concepts in legislative context.
Evangelical leader and pastor Silas Malafia celebrated the bill’s defeat on Twitter: “You can swear, we’re hahahaha plc122 [the bill outlawing LGBT discrimination] is dead, hahahha try something else and wait a few years hahahaaha, if God laughs at the wicked, imagine me, hahahaha.”
According to the campaign group Grupo Gay da Bahia, 44 percent of the world’s anti-LGBT violence occurs in Brazil.
This year alone, 292 LGBT people have been murdered in Brazil, while 2012 saw a 21 percent increase in murders over 2011.
“Our chances to add the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity into the penal code are now near impossible,” said Luiz Henrique Coletto, Vice President of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil (LiHS), in a statement to LGBTQ Nation.
“This means that we have no nationwide federal protection against discrimination of, and violence against LGBT people,” he added. “The vote was a clear demonstration anti LGBT prejudice in Brazil.”
Gustavo Bernardes, coordinator of LGBT rights of Brazil’s presidential secretary on human rights, told LGBTQ Nation that government did all it could to support the bill.
“It was a legislative failure,” he said. “There are others motions already being taken” as well as an “appeal to Brazil’s Supreme Court of Justice to force a ruling in favor of protection from discrimination and violence against LGBT people.”
Article continues belowBernardes called for the European Union, United States and international bodies to apply pressure on lawmakers and provide financial support for LGBT rights campaigns in the country.
Paulo Roberto, an attorney and member of GADvS (Group of Lawyers for Sexual Diversity), told LGBTQ Nation that “Brazil is in violation of international resolutions and statements where it signed a commitment to protect LGBT citizens, both at the level of the United Nations and Organization of American States.”
“Furthermore,” he added, “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?”
Brazil is scheduled to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.