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Brazil’s Supreme Court Votes to Criminalize Homophobia

The Brazilian Supreme Court has ruled in favor of criminalizing homophobia under current legislation until Congress creates a law that specifically addresses the matter, Reuters reports. Eight of the court’s 11 justices voted on Thursday to treat homophobia like racism, which under Brazilian law is also considered 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. When it became clear last month that most of the justices would vote to criminalize homophobia, President Jair Bolsonaro accused them of overstepping into legislative territory, and suggested it was time for an evangelical Christian to be appointed to the court.  While same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, 420 LGBT people were killed in the country last year, according to the Grupo Gay da Bahia. At least 141 people have been killed so far this year.