RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s supreme court (STF) officially made homophobia and transphobia crimes similar to racism on Thursday, June 13th, with all Justices casting their votes in a ruling that comes amid fears the country’s far-right administration is seeking to roll back LGBT social gains.
Six of the STF eleven justices had already voted in favor of the measure in late May, giving the ruling a majority. The remaining justices voted Thursday for a fnal tally of eight votes in favor and three against.
Racism was made a crime in Brazil in 1989 with prison sentences of up to five years. The court’s judges ruled that homophobia should be framed within the racism law until the country’s Congress approves legislation explicitly dealing with LGBT discrimination.
“Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential to human beings, to self-determination to decide their own life and seek happiness,” Justice Gilmar Mendes said, according to the court’s Twitter account.
Jair Bolsonaro, a Catholic who was baptized by an evangelical pastor on a trip to Israel three years ago, had a history of making homophobic, racist, and sexist public remarks before he took office on January 1st. He told one interviewer he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.