Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday that discrimination and hateful acts against gay and transgender people fell within the country's anti-racism laws.
The country's high court ruled 8-3 that homophobic and transphobic violence falls under the existing anti-racism laws, which have existed since 1989, when prosecuting these crimes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Justice Carmen Lucia, who supports the new policy, said the court can’t deny protection “to those who have at times been denied the right to life, and most often to the right to liberty and dignity, by the absence of legislation,” the Journal reported.
However, other legislation protecting the LGBT community has struggled to pass through the nation’s National Congress. The court ruled unanimously in 2011 that every state in Brazil had to recognize same-sex civil unions, but the country has not passed reinforcing legislation.
Brazilian congressman David Miranda told the Journal that other members of Congress have tried to introduce criminalization bills against gay people multiple times, but they never were approved.
While the court approved the anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia measure, the Journal reports that some gay groups have said they have faced more threats of violence and hostility following the election of the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, last year.
Bolsonaro, who has been slammed for comments criticized as homophobic, racist and misogynistic, has been blamed by the groups for his anti-gay rhetoric, the newspaper reported.
Brazil reportedly has one of the world’s highest murder rates when it comes to individuals in the LGBT community. In 2018, 420 LGBT people were killed across the country, USA TODAY reported.