30 May 2012 at 16:30 BST

Homophobia criminalised in Brazil

A Brazilian senate committee has passed an anti-homophobia bill, adding to an earlier human rights committee decision to approve civil unions for same-sex couples.

Sao Paulo: Orientation not an issue

Current legislation only penalises discrimination against age, race, religion or national origin, but the new code will add discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation to the list, according to UK-based magazine the Gay Star News.
Enhanced protection will be introduced by the bill, such as allowing individuals to file discrimination claims relating to past incidents.

Discriminatory behaviour

The report suggests that the wording used in the new legislation also establishes sexuality-based discriminatory behaviours punishable by law. These include: blocking access to a government office or private places; refusing service in restaurants and hospitality venues and impending someone’s career.
Chairman of the Superior Court of Justice, Gilson Dipp, said in an interview with local newspaper Estadão: 'It's a breakthrough because we are expanding the list of discriminatory acts, fulfilling the constitution and updating the existing law.’

Civil unions

Under the new law, offenders will receive sentences of two to five years in prison.According to the report, the senate must approve the bill by 25 June for it to become law. The plans for civil unions also have to pass further hurdles before becoming law.


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