São Paulo, Brazil, the largest city in South America and site of a huge gay pride celebration, wants to have a straight pride day.
The City Council approved legislation Tuesday designating the third Sunday in December as Heterosexual Pride Day; it requires Mayor Gilberto Kassab’s signature to become law, and he has not said whether he will sign it.
Carlos Apolinário (pictured), the conservative council member who authored the measure, says he does not want a parade to mark the day, but felt “compelled to make a symbolic move to shore up Brazil’s eroding ‘morals,’” reports The Christian Science Monitor.
“The creation of Heterosexual Day does not symbolize a struggle against gays but against what I believe are excesses and privileges,” he said, according to the Monitor.
He pointed out that the gay pride parade is held on one of the city’s main streets, Paulista Avenue, while the March for Jesus, organized by evangelical groups, is not allowed there, the Associated Press notes.
The Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Association issued a statement denouncing the legislation. “The celebration of heterosexual pride is inappropriate because it belittles the just cause of the LGBT community,” the statement said. “Unlike homosexuals, heterosexuals are not discriminated against simply for being heterosexuals.”
Gay groups also said the measure could encourage violence against LGBT people. Gay Brazilians are being murdered at a rate that has doubled in the past five years, according to the Gay Group of Bahia. Other critics said the council should not be establishing a Heterosexual Pride Day but addressing more pressing issues, including crime, pollution, and infrastructure. São Paulo is also behind schedule in preparations to host soccer’s World Cup in 2014 and may lose the event to another locale.