Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to criminalize homophobia, saying it could “hurt” gays by deterring companies from hiring them.
Bolsonaro, who has a history of homophobic remarks — he once declared he would rather his son die than be gay — also said the court was “completely wrong” because it had stepped into legislative territory.
The Supreme Court on Thursday voted eight to three in favor of classifying crimes against gay and transgender people as similar to racism, until Congress passes a law specifically addressing such discrimination.
Congress is held by a conservative majority and is strongly influenced by evangelical churches.
Brazil, which has one of the world’s highest rates of violence against sexual minorities, now joins a growing number of countries in the typically conservative and Catholic-influenced Latin American region that have passed measures in favor of LGBT rights.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Bolsonaro said employers would “think twice” before hiring a gay person for fear they could be accused of homophobia.
Bolsonaro also raised again the possibility of nominating an evangelical judge to the country’s highest court to help “balance” the bench.
The three judges that voted against the measure agreed with Bolsonaro on his point that criminalizing homophobia was Congress’s job, not the court’s.
“Only Congress can approve (the definition of) crimes and penalties; only Congress can pass laws on criminal conduct,” said judge Ricardo Lewandowski.
According to the NGO Grupo Gay de Bahia, which has collected national statistics for the past four decades, there were 387 murders and 58 suicides over “homotransphobia” in 2017, a 30 percent increase from 2016.
This works out to one LGBT death by suicide or murder every 19 hours in Brazil.
WATCH: Town hall crowd explodes into applause as New Jersey lawmaker announces he will vote for Trump impeachment
On Sunday morning CNN aired a clip of Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) announcing before a town hall crowd on Saturday that he will vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump -- causing some of the audience members to explode into applause over his decision.
In the clip, the lawmaker explains, "Based on the evidence I have seen in the depositions, the hearings and the documents I've seen, I believe on the two counts of impeachment that the vote that has been put before us, that the vote should be yes, and I will be voting yes."
With that, the crowd burst into cheers with some leaping from their seats.
ABC News had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein years ago — and killed the story
Multimillionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein died in suspicious circumstances at a Manhattan correctional facility on Aug. 10. The wealthy and powerful New York financier, a convicted sex offender, stands accused by dozens of women and girls of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse. He was an enormously influential and well-connected man who counted as friends billionaire business owners, Hollywood stars, British royals, and even top media figures like Katie Couric and Charlie Rose — with some of his associates falling under suspicion of condoning or even participating in a pedophile ring.
Child killed as quake strikes southern Philippines
A powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Sunday, killing a child, injuring dozens and damaging buildings in an area still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.
Police said a rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building in Padada near the 6.8 magnitude quake's epicentre, which is about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of the major city of Davao.
Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls after the jolt and dozens of smaller, but strong aftershocks.