Brazil Supreme Court rules homophobia a crime

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that homophobia should be criminalized under existing legislation until Congress creates a specific law for the subject, weighing in on a topic that has drawn the ire of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Eight of 11 justices voted to treat homophobia in the same way as racism under Brazilian law, making it a criminal act.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity are essential to human beings, to the self-determination to decide their own life and seek happiness,” Justice Gilmar Mendes said, according to the court’s Twitter account.

During the court’s deliberations last month, as it became clear that most justices would rule in favor of criminalizing homophobia, Bolsonaro strongly criticized the court. He accused the justices of legislating from the bench and suggested it was time to appoint an evangelical Christian to the Supreme court. Read more via Reuters

STF criminalizes homophobia and transphobia in Brazil

BRASÍLIA - By 8 to 3, the Federal Supreme Court ( STF ) decided on Thursday, 13, to frame homophobia and transphobia as racism . Accordingly, the ministers of the Supreme Court have understood that the legislation on racism, which has been in force since 1989 in the country, must also be applied to those who practice homophobic and transphobic discriminatory behavior, whether directed against homosexuals ,transsexuals or heterosexuals who may be identified by bullying as LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).

The court also made reservations in order to make clear that the repression against such conduct does not restrict the exercise of religious freedom . That is: believers, pastors and religious leaders have been assured the right to preach their convictions, provided that these manifestations do not turn into discourses of hatred, inciting hostility or violence against the LGBT community . 

For example, a pastor may say that homosexuality is a sin, but defending violence against homosexuals can now be framed as a crime of racism . 

The legislation on racism provides for penalties of one to five years imprisonment for those who deny employment, or prevent access to or refuse service in hotels, restaurants, bars, commercial establishments or prevent marriage or family and social cohabitation for persons on the basis of race or color.

The decision of the STF, considered historical by members of the Court, will serve as a beacon to guide judicial decisions in the various instances of the Country. In all, the court devoted six plenary sessions to discuss the topic in the longest trial that has occurred so far during the presidency of minister Dias Toffoli , who took command of the court in September last year.

"It would be nice if we did not have to face this issue in the 21st century, in the year 2019," Toffoli said, giving the last vote in the session.

A judge on one of the actions on the criminalization of homophobia, Minister Celso de Mello used a precedent of a case that was judged by the STF itself in 2003. On that occasion, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of editor Siegfried Ellwanger forracism due to the publication of books that discriminated against Jews. At that time, as now, the court assessed that racism is a broad concept, with a social dimension, which is not limited to issues of color or race.

"The concept of racism, understood in its social dimension, is projected beyond strictly biological or phenotypic aspects, since it results, as a manifestation of power, a construction of a historical and cultural nature motivated by the objective of justifying inequality and destined to the ideological control, political domination, social subjugation and denial of otherness, dignity and humanity of those who, because they are part of a vulnerable group (LGBTI +), are considered strange and different, "said Celso de Mello. 

Read more via Estadão

STF criminaliza homofobia e transfobia no Brasil

BRASÍLIA – Por 8 a 3, o Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) decidiu nesta quinta-feira, 13, enquadrar a homofobia e a transfobia como racismo. Dessa forma, os ministros do Supremo entenderam que a legislação sobre racismo, em vigor desde 1989 no País, também deve ser aplicada para quem praticar condutas discriminatórias homofóbicas e transfóbicas, sejam elas disparadas contra a homossexuaistransexuais ou contra heterossexuais que eventualmente sejam identificados pelo agressor como LGBTs(lésbicas, gays, bissexuais e transexuais).

O tribunal também fez ressalvas, no sentido de deixar claro que a repressão contra essas condutas não restringe o exercício de liberdade religiosa. Ou seja: fiéis, pastores e líderes religiosos têm assegurado o direito de pregar suas convicções, desde que essas manifestações não se convertam em discursos de ódio, incitando hostilidade ou a violência contra a comunidade LGBT

Por exemplo: um pastor pode dizer que a homossexualidade é pecado, mas se defender a violência contra homossexuais essa conduta pode agora ser enquadrada como crime de racismo

A legislação sobre racismo prevê penas de um a até cinco anos de reclusão para quem negar emprego, ou impedir acesso ou recusar atendimento em hotel, restaurantes, bares, estabelecimentos comerciais ou impedir o casamento ou convivência familiar e social para pessoas por conta de raça ou cor.

A decisão do STF, considerada histórica por integrantes da Corte, servirá de baliza para orientar decisões judiciais nas diversas instâncias do País. Ao todo, o tribunal dedicou seis sessões plenárias para discutir o tema, no julgamento mais longo ocorrido até aqui durante a presidência do ministro Dias Toffoli, que assumiu o comando do tribunal em setembro do ano passado.

“O bom seria que não tivéssemos de enfrentar esse tema em pleno século 21, no ano de 2019”, disse Toffoli, ao dar o último voto na sessão. Read more via Estadão