Two young women were jailed by order of Brazilian congressman Pastor Marco Feliciano after kissing during the evangelical event Glorifica Litoral in the city of São Sebastião in the north of São Paulo on Sunday, September 15, 2013.
Feliciano, who is also president of the House Commission for Human Rights and Minorities, stopped his presentation during the gospel festival, which bills itself as an “evangelical social-cultural week,” to request the municipal guards and military police officers present arrest the two young women.
“Those two girls have to leave here handcuffed. No use trying to run, guards are headed there now. This here isn't palace where anything goes. It’s the house of God,” he said into the microphone.
According to reports from those present at the event, while the women were being removed, the pastor continued to incite the crowd of 70,000 people against them.
The two young women, Yunka Mihura, 20, and Joana Palhares, 18, were taken by agents of the Municipal Civil Guard to the First District Police Station of São Sebastião, where the police chief filed the incident for investigation. The women alleged other heterosexual couples were also exchanging kisses during the event, and that they were physically assaulted by the police.
In the blog iGay, they stated they had already kissed a few times during the event and that nobody seemed to mind. Yunka stated, "The event was public, paid for with our taxes. That stage, that microphone, everything was with public money. It was also an open space, on Beach Street. It was our right to be there."
According to the lawyer for the two women, Daniel Galani, there was a conflict of rights during the event. "We see it as a situation that got completely out of control. We know there are two rights in conflict: one is the freedom of expression and the other the freedom of religious practice. The two rights are constitutional and are prescribed so that people can make use of them."
Read more at Global Voices Online, where this article by Fernanda Canofre was originally published.