The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that homophobia and transphobia should be criminalized on Thursday, June 13th. One of the judges said: ‘’Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential to human beings, to the self-determination to decide their own life and seek happiness’’.
Eight of eleven judges ruled in favour of criminalizing the forms of discrimination against the LGBT+ community the same way as racism under Brazilian law (until the country’s Congress can pass a new law). Past month, six judges already voted in favour of the new law, but the decision only became official after the remaining five judges voted.
While the ruling states that the criminalization of homo- and transphobia will not restrict religious freedoms, churches will not be allowed to promote ‘hate speech’ that incites discrimination or violence against LGBTI people.
What this means for LGBT+ rights in the country is yet to be seen. The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made extremely homophobic statements on numerous occasions and even criticized the courts regarding their progressive choices in favour of the LGBT+ community. Previously, the President said he intends to appoint an evangelical Christian to the court.