Brazil boasts the world’s biggest Pride
event, in the city of S�o Paulo
Brazil’s National Congress could soon be voting on a bill to allow psychologists and therapists to treat homosexuality as an ‘illness’ that can be ‘cured’.
The controversial legislation was approved on Tuesday by a congressional human rights commission, reported the Associated Press.
If ultimately passed by congress, it would give the green light to therapies for gay adults who wish to ‘change’ their sexual orientation.
These kinds of treatments were outlawed in 1999 by the country’s Federal Psychology Council.
Bizarrely, the Commission for Human Rights and Minorities that approved the measure is headed up by evangelical pastor Marco Feliciano, who is known to be a homophobe.
The commission’s backing for the legislation, which still has some hurdles to overcome, brings the bill a step closer to being voted on by the congress. At this point, however, it does not appear as if the bill has much support.
The AllOut.org activist site has launched a petition against the bill, calling on Brazilian lawmakers to “take a stand against therapies to ‘cure’ being gay” and to “stop any plan to ever allow these ‘therapies’ to be practiced in Brazil”.
So called gay “cure” or “reparative” therapies have been denounced by credible medical and psychological groups around the world as being ineffective and dangerous.
Brazil, the world’s largest Roman Catholic nation, is one of the most gay-friendly countries in South America.
The courts have declared same-sex marriage to be legal, but a law legalising same-sex marriage has yet to be approved by the National Congress. Some marriage license offices have also refused to authorise gay marriages.
Last month, the National Council of Justice, which oversees Brazil’s legal system, said that the government did not need to wait for a marriage equality bill to be passed and said that it should immediately ensure marriage equality in the country. The ruling, however, may yet be appealed.