Church Pressure Causes Brazilian President to Halt Distribution of School Anti-Homophobia Kits
Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff appeared to cave to pressure from evangelical church groups this week when she suspended the distribution of gay and lesbian-inclusive sex education and anti-homophobia materials in schools. Church groups reportedly said they would urge their political allies to block all upcoming legislation if Rousseff didn’t halt production of the anti-homophobia kits.
A spokesperson for the President told the media that after personally viewing the materials the President was unhappy with some of the content and believed it did not offer an “objective” view of homosexuality.
The education packs contain gay and lesbian video scenes and are supposed to combat homophobia.
However, evangelical church groups and their allies in Congress threatened to block any upcoming legislation unless President Rousseff halted the films.
A government spokesman said President Rousseff had viewed the material personally and decided to suspend its distribution.
“She didn’t like what she saw,” Gilberto Carvalho said.
He said President Rousseff was unhappy with the footage and believed it did not offer an objective picture of homosexuality.
The “anti-homophobia kits”, as they are known in Brazil, were about to be rolled out by Brazil’s ministry of health and the ministry of education.
Several members of Brazil’s chamber of deputies with strong evangelic Christian beliefs said the sex education packs encouraged homosexual behaviour.
LGBT rights groups in the country say they are particularly disappointed by this move as many voted for President Rousseff due to her commitment to human rights.
They warn that if Rousseff does not make a u-turn LGBT voters will be urged to not vote for her in future.
A unanimous supreme court decision earlier this year appeared to pave the way for the legalization of civil unions, however action has not been taken to recognize the institution so far.