Brazil gays to fight subsidized heterosexuality

July 14, 2004

RIO DE JANEIRO — Gay Brazilians readied Tuesday to battle a bill in Rio de Janeiro's state legislature to subsidize homosexuals for going straight, activist Claudio Nascimento told AFP.

"The bill to give aid to homosexuals who want to become heterosexual is a political insult, which jeopardizes the prestige of the Legislative Assembly," the leader of the Rainbow Group said.

"We expect it to fail."

The bill was drafted by Christian Democrat deputy Edino Fonseca to create an "aid program for persons who voluntarily opt to change sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality."

Already, the constitution and the justice committees have approved it. Both are chaired by evangelicals.

Fonseca told Folha de Sao Paulo, "We do not think homosexuality is a disease, but an acquired habit that can be broken."

"I have met with Fonseca," Nascimento said. "He has an 18th century outlook."

The chair of the justice and constitution committees, deputy Domingos Brazao, of the Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), said the bill "does not trample constitutional or judicial norms."

Likewise, the chair of the health committee, evangelical deputy Samuel Malafaia (PMDB) called homosexuality "a distortion of nature and of a normal human being."

Gay activists expect the bill to fail in the committees on discrimination and on human rights. – Sapa-AFP

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