Brazil’s New Congress Is Expected to Require Bible Study in Schools, Repeal Marriage Equality
Hornet has been providing extensive coverage of the political turmoil taking over Brazil. In January, the inauguration of the nation’s new president — the far-right, “proud homophobe” Jair Bolsonaro — signified a drastic about-face politically, particularly in so far as the rights and protections of LGBTQ people are concerned. We’ve now learned that the new Brazil Congress, inaugurated at the beginning of February, is seeking a full-on repeal of any progress previously fought for by queer people, including a rescinding of marriage equality.
Despite same-sex marriage coming to Brazil via resolution in 2013, its repeal by a new Brazil Congress, spearheaded by Bolsonaro, was something many queer locals could see coming. Back in December 2018, in the days before the presidential inauguration, we reported that gay Brazilians were rushing to get married in droves, fearing the right to do so wouldn’t exist much longer under the new administration.
According to a notary public in São Paulo, gay marriages in Brazil this past December were four times what they’d been in previous months. Now we know that fear was a legitimate one.
The country’s new, more-conservative-than-ever government is attempting to not only rescind marriage equality but to push Creationism and Bible study into public schools (bills PL 8099 and PL 9164, respectively), to exempt churches from certain taxes (PL 181), to allow prisoners to reduce their sentences by reading the Bible (PL 10529) and to place a large crucifix on the main wall of the country’s legislature (PRC 156).
This is all being done via a process called “desarquivamento,” translated as “de-archiving,” according to a recent story by Hemant Mehta. The process allows an old bill that wasn’t passed to be resurrected by its sponsors, and legislators are allowed (in Mehta’s words) “to leapfrog some of the bureaucratic hurdles that might arise by starting from scratch.”
Several bills “have recently been pulled out of their graves” by the new Brazil Congress, says Mehta, the most unfortunate for the nation’s LGBTQ population being a ban on gay marriage. The bill is PL 5167, which was first introduced in 2009 by Congressman Captain Assumção. Here’s an excerpt from the bill itself:
We firmly believe that God created us and designated marriage and the family as the most fundamental of human relationships. In today’s world, as in the past, families are targeted by those who struggle against Christian values. … God approved of sexual relations within marriage, but same-sex relationships are absolutely forbidden by God. …
God did not create Adam and another Adam, He made Eve as [a] suitable partner for him. Evolutionists, cynics, and materialists can always argue that the biblical text is merely symbolic, an allegory about the origin of the human species. Even so, the symbology is clear: the species originated, and can only continue, in the connection between a man and a woman.
It’s believed that these newly resurrected bills will eventually pass the new Brazil Congress, particularly now that a president who once said “If I see two men kissing in the street, I’ll hit them” is in office. How quickly these new bills are enacted, and how the LGBTQ communities of Brazil fare after their rights and safety are placed in jeopardy, is anyone’s guess.