A same-sex kiss started as an act of counter-protest near an Evangelical Christian rally in São Sebastião, Brazil. But the arrest of the couple kissing has stirred up a long-standing debate in Brazil over the influence of the Catholic Church over politics in the nation.
Public Radio International, reports that two women attended a “gospel festival” and were arrested after kissing each other at the event last week. Brazilian congressman Pastor Marco Feliciano found himself “forced” to stop his speech to the nearly 70,000 in attendance to issue a stark condemnation of the women.
Feliciano is also the president of the nation’s House Commission for Human Rights and Minorities. During the condemnation, he ordered police to immediately arrest the couple, saying, “Those two girls have to leave here handcuffed. No use trying to run, guards are headed there now. This here isn’t palace where anything goes, it’s the house of God.”
Indeed, the two women, 18 and 20 year olds Joana Palhares and Yunka Mihura, found themselves under arrest almost immediately.
Supporters of the pastor, and Feliciano himself says that the women had “disturbed a ceremony of religious worship” and thus deserved to be arrested, even though this was in public space and was an event funded by tax-payer money.
But if the charge sticks, that is punishable by a year and one month in prison.
SPREAD THE WORD! Put international pressure on the São Sebastião police, government and the government of Brazil. Let them know that this blatant persecution of homosexuals will not be tolerated!