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Presidential Candidate Marina Silva U-Turns on LGBT Manifesto Pledges

09/02/2014 - 09h19

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FROM SÃO PAULO

On Saturday (30), less than 24 hours after launching her manifesto, Marina Silva, candidate of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), retracted a number of key proposals regarding LGBT rights.

In the original version of the manifesto, Silva pledged to campaign for gay marriage in Congress, promised to criminalize homophobia, and committed herself to passing a gender identity law that would have permitted citizens to change their name and gender on official documentation.

There was also a section which proposed the distribution of educational material "aimed at raising awareness regarding diversity of sexual orientation and new forms of the family."

These passages were all heavily edited or removed entirely from the second version of the manifesto.

Gay marriage remains in a legal grey area in Brazil. In 2013, the National Justice Council (CNJ) passed a resolution which requires all public notaries to register gay marriages.

However, there is still no specific law as such, and the issue is still under discussion in Congress.

In a statement released by Silva's campaign, the discrepancy between the two versions was blamed on a "mistake in the editing process."

Later, Silva said that demands made by social movements had been included in the manifesto, though they "hadn't been approved" by the PSB.

She also made a comment aimed at voters concerned that a Silva administration might be conservative on social issues.

"Irrespective of anything else, we are committed to a secular state that respects individual freedom and freedom of religion."

Silva herself is a member of the evangelical church Assembleia de Deus, and the original manifesto took many in Brazil's LGBT community by surprise.

She had admitted in 2010 that she was "against" gay marriage, although she conceded that people "had the right to defend these causes."

The most recent Datafolha poll, taken last Friday (29), has Silva neck and neck with President Dilma Rousseff in the first round of the election.

In the second round, Silva currently leads Rousseff by a full ten points.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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