Evangelicals against the Criminalization of Homophobia in Brazil

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This article examines the arguments of evangelical leaders opposed to the criminalization of homophobia in Brazil. Bill 122, which sought to criminalize prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation, was strongly opposed by evangelical congressmen and leaders in the period from 2011 to 2015. Several justifications were given in the secular and religious media in order to strengthen and legitimize the opposition to the criminalization of homophobia. We intend, therefore, to analyze the discourses, categories, and general principles used in the speeches of evangelical actors, seeking to understand which elements were mobilized to legitimize their justifications. Our goal is to demonstrate that conservative evangelical leaders resorted to legal categories, especially the right to religious freedom and freedom of speech, in order to defend a Christian model of traditional family ties in the public sphere. We conclude that the actions of evangelical actors in the debate regarding the criminalization of homophobia sought to preserve the authority of evangelical leaderships in preaching against homosexuality.