Brazil saw spike in same-sex marriage ahead of Bolsonaro presidency

Last Modified Saturday, 7 December 2019 (16:29 IST)
Brazil's latest government statistics have revealed a sharp increase in same-sex couples who married before President Jair assumed office. The far-right leader has called himself a "proud homophobe."
The number of same-sex marriages soared 61.7% between 2017 and 2018, according to data released this week by IBGE, Brazil's government statistics agency.
While the survey data indicated a 1.6% drop in the country's total number of civil marriages, same-sex marriages jumped from 5,887 to 9,520 during that time period.
Same-sex female marriages represented 58.4% of those unions. The largest increase was observed in Brazil's Northeast Region (85.2%) and the Central-West Region (42.5%).
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called himself a "proud homophobe," took office on January 1, 2019. One-fifth of the 9,520 marriages took place in December 2018. 
LGBT+ advocates say the newly released data reveal citizens' fears that Bolsonaro would violate their rights.
LGBT+ community fears legal limitations 
In 2013, Brazil's National Council of Justice legalized same-sex marriage. However, rights advocates said Bolsonaro's election accelerated LGBT+ couples in tying the knot, for fear he might pass legislation to restrict their right to wed. 
The right to marry also allows same-sex couples in to share health care benefits and inheritances.
"The community knows its rights, and this conservative wave led to a reaction, to reaffirm this right and defend it," Claudio Nascimento from Brazil's LGBTI National Alliance, a nonprofit group, told Reuters news agency.
Far-right President and former military officer Bolsonaro said in a 2011 Playboy magazine interview that he "would be incapable of loving a homosexual son," adding that he would "prefer my son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed man."
In May 2002, Bolsonaro said that if he saw "two men kissing each other on the street" he would "beat them up."
is currently legal in 27 countries. Austria, Ecuador and Taiwan recognized the legal right of gay couples to wed this year.