Brazil: Gay-cure bill withdrawn before parliamentary vote

Measure would reportedly have been soundly defeated

A controversial bill that would have lifted a 1999 ban on treating homosexuality was withdrawn July 2 before it was put to a vote in Brazil’s parliament, Pink News reports.
Legislator Joao Campos, described as a member of the lower house’s evangelical bloc, supported the measure but pulled it as it became increasingly clear that it would be defeated, the report says.
In promoting the bill, Campos argued that it would permit “a person over 18 years of age, responsible for his actions, who is homosexual and wants to reorient his sexuality, can be attended by a psychologist.”
But as the measure was moving forward, following its approval by a congressional human rights commission last month, queer-rights activists rallied against it as part of multicity protests about declining economic conditions in Brazil.
Huberto Verona, a member of Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology, said that scientific disciplines “recognize that sexual orientation is not a pathology that should be treated; it is not a perversion nor a disorder nor a behavioural disturbance.”
Activist Guilhermina Cunha said the bill’s withdrawal is cause for celebration. “The next step, however, and we’re not yet sure how to do it, is to remove Feliciano from his position.”
Cunha was referring to the head of the congressional human rights commission, Marco Feliciano, whose appointment to the body was strenuously opposed by human rights groups.
Feliciano has referred to AIDS as a “gay cancer.”

Natasha Barsotti is originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. She had high aspirations of representing her country in Olympic Games sprint events, but after a while the firing of the starting gun proved too much for her nerves. So she went off to university instead. Her first professional love has always been journalism. After pursuing a Master of Journalism at UBC , she began freelancing at Xtra West — now Xtra Vancouver — in 2006, becoming a full-time reporter there in 2008.

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