By Arkady Petrov
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday May 22nd, the Senate Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) approved a bill establishing penalties for discrimination or prejudice based on gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The proposal criminalizing homophobia promotes changes in legislation dealing crimes resulting from prejudice on race, color, ethnicity, religion, or origin.
The project is authored by Senator Weverton Rocha (PDT-MA), although it was approved as a new bill proposed by rapporteur Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE). The text will have to be submitted to a new vote in the CCJ, where further changes may be introduced. If approved by the collegiate, it will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies.
“It is high time to promote effective protection for potential victims of discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Vieira in his report.
Alessandro Vieira proposed to exempt from punitive measures those who hinder or restrict “reasonable displays of affection” within places of worship.
Questioned as to whether the concept would be subjective and whether it could open the way for differing interpretations of what is considered “reasonable”, the senator replied that “interpretation of the law always requires common sense. This is why we have a judge, a magistrate, to analyze it.”