The presidential election in Brazil and the results of it have changed things drastically for people living in the biggest South American country. Jair Bolsonaro, who won the election, is known for being an outspoken homophobe, and same-sex couples living in Brazil fear for their futures once the president starts making changes.
As a result, many of these couples have been rushing to the altar in case Bolsonaro decides to outlaw same-sex marriage, reported the Los Angeles Times. Gay marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, but given Bolsonaro’s stance on the practice and gay people in general, it seems likely he will pull any strings he can find to change that.
The sudden rise in the numbers of same-sex marriages started in September, after it became apparent that Bolsonaro would be the likely victor from the elections. It was in the month that leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was deemed ineligible to run for president, and the hard-line conservative instantly took the lead in the race.
In October, when Bolsonaro was officially declared the winner, Arpen, the national association of notaries, recorded 831 same-sex marriages for the month, a 54 percent increase on that same month the previous year. The numbers in November jumped 66 percent from 2017, with 986 marriages recorded.
On the first Saturday of December, Stefany Daltro and Debora de Cassia Brandao Silva, who have been together for four years, invited a few guests to join them for a simple ceremony at the office of a public notary, and Silva perfectly captioned the sudden rush Brazilian same-sex couples are feeling.
“We’re in the dark. We don’t know what’s ahead of us now, what rights we could lose.”
Gay rights supporters from businesses have begun offering their services for free to couples rushing to the altar before Bolsonaro can change the law.
“This campaign is to show our solidarity,” says Rossanna Pinheiro, who owns Riot Karaoke in Rio de Janeiro and started the Facebook page Casamento LGBT, where merchants from around the country volunteer their services. “These people are feeling embraced and will have the opportunity to have a celebration they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford.”
Bolsonaro has always been open about his hatred for gay people, saying in 2011 that he “would not be able to love a homosexual son.”
“I’d rather have a son of mine die in an accident than show up with someone with a mustache. To me he would be dead anyway. If a homosexual comes and lives next door to me, it will devalue my house! If they walk hand in hand and kiss, it will lose its value.”
While he did not mention homosexuality during his campaign, his views are well-known around Brazil, and same-sex couples are not prepared to lose their opportunity to marry because of them.