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Hate speech in Brazil

Limitations on hate speech
based on sexual orientation

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Proposed government law against homophobia:

The Brazilian government has introduced legislation to criminalize hate speech, discrimination or prejudice against a range of protected groups -- on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Although it would protect men, women, male gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals, essentially all of the objections by social and social conservatives concentrate on the law's protection of homosexuals. 1

On 2007-MAR-15, the Brazilian Senate established a working group to organize public meetings at which homophobia would be discussed by experts.

According to LifeSiteNews:

"Bill 122/2006 would change federal anti-discrimination laws, the Brazilian Penal Code and the Consolidation of Labor Laws to make 'discrimination or prejudice of gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity' a criminal offence. Conviction would result in prison sentences of between two and five years. The law would expose Roman Catholic priests, Protestant pastors, and others to jail sentences of two to five years for preaching against homosexuality. A rector of a seminary who refuses admission to a qualified homosexual student could theoretically face a three to five year sentence." 2
"Dr. Zenóbio Fonseca, a juridical consultant and college professor, said Christians would be particularly vulnerable to conviction and jail sentencing for teaching against homosexuality, as the legislation would affect 'any individual or group--including churches--that doesn't accept homosexual behavior or sexual orientation as an acceptable practice or social pattern in any public or private place'."

"Dr. Fonseca cited articles 8º-A and 8º-B of the bill, which would penalize any attempt to restrict homosexual expression:"

" 'Article 8-A: To hinder or restrict the expression and the manifestation of affection in public or private places open to all people, because of characteristics foreseen in the 1st article of this Law: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration'."

" 'Article 8-B: To forbid the free expression and manifestation of affection of a homosexual, bisexual or transgender citizen, when these expressions and manifestations are allowed to other citizens: Penalty: between 2 (two) and 5 (five) years of incarceration'."

"While some have argued that religious freedom would be protected under the Brazilian Constitutional guarantee of freedom of faith, religion and worship, Dr. Fonseca pointed out that the legislation would establish sexual orientation as a universal human principle under the Constitution."

" 'This is so true that, when addressing the subject, some Brazilian courts have already been basing their decisions under that new view, that is, they have been addressing the subject as a principle of human dignity and equality,' Dr. Fonseca wrote."

"In addition, he said, '[T]here are amendment bills to the Constitution under consideration in several States and the Chamber of Deputies, introducing the term sexual orientation as a principle expressed in the constitutional chapter of the fundamental principles'."

"Even if churches would be excused from the legislation's effects, individual Christians would be affected when, 'in living and defending Christian values, the daily practice of their faith conflicts with homosexuality'."

" 'That is the worst threat of the bill,' Dr. Fonseca stated, 'because it will hit any Christian expressing a view contrary to the free expression of the sexual orientation ideology and its values, that have been institutionalized as government programs, in the politics favorable to the GLBT population, in the federal program Brazil Without Homophobia, through the Ministry of the Culture, Education, Health and National Secretary of Human Rights'."
"The bill under consideration passed the House of Representatives in November 2006, but Senate members refused last week [2007-MAR-15] to vote on the proposal, opting instead to form a work group that will organize public hearings from specialists on the issue, according to a Zenit News Agency report."

"Brazil authored a resolution presented to the Organization of the American States last fall that introduced sexual orientation as a universal principle of the dignity of the human person. Brazilian diplomats have been pushing for the adoption of a similar resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Committee--in 2003 a proposal put forward by Brazil was defeated by a coalition of Muslim nations."

" 'We see that this parliamentarian proposal, currently under consideration in the Federal Senate, has been the primary goal of the entire homosexual movement in Brazil and other countries sympathetic to this issue'," Dr. Fonseca said."

Status of bill:

The bill was passed unanimously and without debate by the Brazilian House of Representatives. As of 2008-JUN-15, it is being considered by the Senate.

According to the Association of the Defense of Life, a Roman Catholic pro-life group:

"The bill would impose prison sentences on any kind of moral, ethical, philosophical or psychological expression that questions homosexual practices. In this way, 'a priest, a pastor, a teacher or even an average citizen who says in a sermon, a classroom or public conversation that homosexual acts are sinful, disordered or an illness could be denounced and detained,' the association said." 3
The top three comments from subscribers to the Catholic News Agency wrote:

  • Kevin of Joplin, MO: "Hallelujah! Thank God there's one righteous country in the Americas! Brazil is proving that it isn't the U.S. but Brazil who truly lives by the words: 'with liberty and justice for all'!"
  • Brian of Indianapolis, IN: Try looking at it from their perspective. They mistakenly assume that 'free speech' is a code for extremist propaganda. Why do many nations have laws against denying the Nazi Holocaust. I urge you all to engage your opponents as human beings with differing opinions, however wrong they may be, instead of demons out to overthrow God.
  • Andrea of Houston, TX: I definitely agree that this law is taking it too far. However, I would like to make the point that they are trying to fight years of discrimination. In Houston, for example, 40% of kids who "come out" to their parents before the age of 18 are kicked out of the house. Who would willingly CHOOSE to be homosexual and therefore isolated in today's society?"
    "There has been research indicating certain chromosome inactivation in women may cause their sons to be homosexual. ... In response to Greg's statement referencing the pervasive comments in the Bible condemning homosexuality, we must not forget that the Bible also upheld slavery in various passages. We must keep in mind the theological truths in the Bible, as well as the fact that those Scriptures were written at a specific point in history and references the social conventions at the time. Learning more about the causes of homosexuality can help us empathize with others and grow in God's love. Both sides on this issue need to be able to speak without being imprisoned, but it is worth hearing the other side before condemning them all as sinners." 3

References used:

  1. Ian Dunt, "Brazil's considers outlawing homophobia," PinkNews, 2008-MAR-22, at:
  2. "More Details on the Proposed Brazil Law to Jail Pastors who Preach Homosexual Activity is Sin," LifeSiteNews, 2007-MAR-22, at:
  3. "Brazilian law would prohibit Christian teaching on homosexuality," Catholic News Agency, 2008-JUL-15, at: Downloaded on 2008-JUL-26

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Originally posted: 2008-JUL-26
Latest update: 2006-JUL-26

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