Brazil: Dozens of gay couples marry in mass ceremony

Demonstrators take part in a protest against Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on October 10 2018. - The populist ultra-conservative won 46 percent of the vote in the first round, despite detractors highlighting his contentious past comments demeaning women and gays, and speaking in favor of torture and Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship. Brazil will hold the run-off presidential election next October 28. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP) (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Around 40 gay couples have married in a collective ceremony in Sao Paulo in Brazil.

The couples married over fears the President-elect Jair Bolsonaro could restrict same-sex marriage, AP reported.

Gay marriage has been legal in Brazil since May 2013, but there are fears Bolsonaro may roll back rights when he takes office in January.

Bolsonaro has been making headlines across the world for many years for his comments, many of which have been focused on the LGBT+ community.

Anti-LGBT comments

In May 2002, he also threatened gay people, saying that if he saw “two men kissing each other on the street” he would “beat them up.”

He also told Playboy in 2011 that he would rather his son die than be gay, saying: “I would be incapable of loving a gay son. I prefer that he die in an accident.”

In 2015, he courted controversy when he said that hospital patients should have the option to reject “gay blood.”

RIO DE JAaNEIRO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 28: Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), gestures after casting his vote during general elections on October 28, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Jair Bolsonaro will take office in January (Buda Mendes/Getty)

Dozens of couples exchanged vows during the ceremony held at Casa1, an NGO that provides support to disadvantaged LGBT youth.

The organisation raised almost $12,000 to cover expenses as part of a campaign to hold the ceremony in light of the “political situation”.

“It’s our way of raising the flag for our rights in this new setting,” Lais Risatto, an NGO member, told AP.

Violence against LGBT community in brazil

Violent deaths of LGBT people in Brazil reached an all-time high in 2017, the country’s oldest LGBT watchdog Grupo Gay de Bahia reported earlier this year.

There were 387 murders and 58 suicides of LGBT people last year, marking a 30 percent increase from the reported 327 deaths in 2016.

Brazil has a high homicide rate, however the watchdog has said that it has only included deaths that were directly caused by homophobic or transphobic violence.

Luiz Mott, the president of Grupo Gay de Bahia said that the rising levels of violence were partially caused by the growth and publicity of ultra-conservative politicians.