There was a surge of same-sex weddings in Brazil ahead of ‘proud homophobe’ Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency

Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party, attends an interview for Correio Brazilianse newspaper in Brasilia on June 6, 2018. - Brazil holds general elections in October. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP) LGBT+ rights (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

There was a huge rush of same-sex weddings in Brazil last year ahead of “proud homophobe” Jair Bolsonaro becoming president.

There was a 62 per cent increase in same-sex weddings in Brazil in 2018 and a fifth of the 9,520 gay weddings took place in December, shortly after Bolsonaro was elected, Reuters reports.

Bolsonaro was elected in October 2018 and took office on January 1 2019. His election instilled fear in the country’s LGBT+ community that their rights would be  under threat.

LGBT+ community feared that their rights would be rowed back under Jair Bolsonaro presidency.

LGBT+ rights advocates have said that the spike in same-sex weddings, which was revealed this week in government statistics, may have been due to fears that Bolsonaro would pass legislation limiting or reversing same-sex marriage.

“The LGBT community knows its rights, and this conservative wave led to a reaction, to reaffirm this right and defend it,” Claudio Nascimento of Brazil’s LGBTI National Alliance told the news outlet.

Speaking about the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Brazil in 2013, Almir França of LGBT+ charity Grupo Arco-Iris said they are “increasingly aware that it protects us”.

The LGBT community knows its rights, and this conservative wave led to a reaction, to reaffirm this right and defend it.

Despite the increase, same-sex weddings accounted for less than 1 percent of all marriages in the country in 2018.

Bolsonaro has a long history of anti-LGBT+ comments. He once described himself as “homophobic and very proud of it.”

The Brazilian president has made various anti-LGBT+ comments over the years.

The politician 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.”

During his presidential campaign, Bolsonaro said that he stood by his claim that he would punch gay people if he saw them kissing in public.

Standing by the comments, the candidate compared gay kisses to “a paedophile’s right to have sex with a 2-year-old”.

He told TIME: “I do not kiss my wife on the street. Why face society? Why take that into the school? Little children of 6 or 7, watching two men kiss as the government wanted them to do. Is this democracy?”

Brazil has become increasingly dangerous for LGBT+ people in the last year, with a recent report finding that the country is now the deadliest in the world for trans people.