BRAZIL: High Court Outlaws Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Well, THIS is a surprising development.

The Associated Press reports:

A majority in Brazil’s supreme court has voted to make homophobia and transphobia crimes like racism, a decision coming amid fears the country’s far-right president will roll back LGBT social gains.

Six of the Supreme Federal Tribunal’s 11 judges have voted in favor of the measure. The five other judges will vote in a court session on June 5, but the result will not be modified. The measure will take effect after all the justices have voted.

Racism was made a crime in Brazil in 1989 with prison sentences of up to five years. The court’s judges ruled that homophobia should be framed within the racism law until the country’s congress approves legislation specifically dealing with LGBT discrimination.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Supreme Federal Court is acting on two cases brought by an LGBTQ rights group and the Popular Socialist Party in 2012 and 2013, arguing that Congress was dragging its feet on criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The court considered the cases over four days in February, when four justices — short of a majority — said such behavior should be criminalized. The case was resumed Thursday, and two more justices agreed, creating a majority. The other five justices are set to vote on June 5, but they do not have the numbers to reverse a ruling.

The supreme court decision comes a day after the Senate’s Commission on Constitution Justice and Citizenship also voted in favor of a bill to criminalize homophobia and transphobia. It asked the high court to suspend its decision while the bill makes its way through the lower house, but the court voted 9 to 2 to continue.