Human rights and minority leaders in Brazil have continued to express grave concern over the continued anti-gay rhetoric from the chairman of the country’s human rights committee in Congress, Marco Feliciano. Feliciano assumed the role as head of the body which governs equality issues on March 7, sparking controversy and protests.
Evangelical pastor Feliciano is known for inflammatory comments on LGBT rights. He has said on twitter that the “rot of homosexual feelings lead to hatred, crime, rejection.” As a result, one campaign to have him tender his resignation has gathered 450,000 signatures.
At an evangelical congress in September 2012, Feliciano referred to AIDS in a speech as the “gay cancer.” In another statement he said he was not prejudiced against the LGBT community, simply “against their practices, their promiscuity.”
Now, congressional leaders have joined the support to have Feliciano step down.
Mr. Feliciano’s rise mirrors the increasing strength of evangelical churches, according to Philosophy Professor Roberto Romano of the University of Campinas in Sao Paulo State. Feliciano’s Christian Social Party is a key part of an “evangelical bloc” in congress.
The concern for Brazilian activists is that the growth of the evangelist movement will make a bad situation worse. The country was recently ranked as number one of nations having the highest LGBT murder rate in the world. Murders of those in the transgender community is particularly stark. Its reported that a transgender individual is killed every two days in Brazil.
It seems however that despite congressional leaders asking Feliciano to consider this position, his resignation is very unlikely. He said recently that only death would remove him from the post he holds.