A group of 171 senators and deputies in
Brazil have joined a “Parliamentary Front for the LGBT Community,”
which will promote the legalization of gay marriage, Spanish news
agency EFE reported.
The effort is helmed by Senator Marta
Suplicy and Congressman Jean Wyllys, Brazil's first openly gay
Wyllys, who parlayed a 2005 Big
Brother Brazil win into a political career, is also an outspoken
gay rights advocate. A member of the socialist-inspired P-SOL party,
Wyllys has said he's received homophobic threats on social networks,
including Twitter, for backing the intiative.
Suplicy, 66, is the former Mayor of Sao
Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and the world's sixth largest, and
a member of the Worker's Party (Patido dos Trabalhadores). She
studied in the United States, first at Michigan State University and
later at Stanford University.
Argentine National Deputy Vilma Ibarra,
who played a prominent role in last year's effort to legalize gay
marriage in her country, and the Spanish socialist Pedro Zerolo were
on hand at Tuesday's announcement.
Zerolo urged lawmakers to “stay the
course” on equality and “make possible what seems impossible.”
He told EFE that he was “proud”
that Spain, which legalized gay marriage in 2005, served as a model
for an increasing number of Latin American countries.
“Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay are
already on that road and Brazil, which is a key country in Latin
America and the world, is not included,” Zerolo said.
Currently, gay and lesbian couples
cannot legally marry in Brazil, where marriage is regulated by the
federal government, not the states, but the gay community has won
significant rights through the courts.