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Brazil: President seeks to make homophobia a hate crime

BRASILIA, Brazil -- Newly re-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff is looking to pass a law that makes homophobia a hate crime, despite Evangelical Christian leaders who are influential with the electorate and in the Congress opposing such a move.

The Brazilian law called the Maria da Penha makes violence against women a crime. President Rouseff has said she would like to create a similar law against homophobia.

A similar proposal has been stuck in the Senate for the past eight years, a situation that Brazilian LGBTI groups see as disastrous for lesbian and gay rights. They are looking to have homophobia be legally on equal standing with the crime of racism.

According to the Gay Group of Bahia, at least 312 Brazilian gays, lesbians and transgender people were killed in 2013, which represents one murder every 28 hours. Almost all of these murders were hate crimes.

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