Senate approves bill that bans discriminating gays in blood donation

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The Senate approved this Thursday (4) a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation for blood donors and provides for punishment of offenders.

The proposal was symbolically approved by the senators and is now being processed in the Chamber of Deputies. Contrary to what is customary in the voting of projects, no congressman spoke about the proposal, with praise or criticism, with the exception of the author Fabiano Contarato (Rede-ES) and the rapporteur, Humberto Costa (PT-PE).

The bill passed by the senators aims to eliminate rules that prohibit blood donation by homosexuals or establish a 12-month “quarantine” for men who have had sex with other men.

In practice, this type of restrictions lost effectiveness with a decision of the Supreme Court, in May 2020. The court was forced to manifest itself after the filing of a direct action of unconstitutionality, against two measures considered discriminatory, an ordinance of the Ministry of Health and in resolution of the Collegiate Board of Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency).

The author of the project argued, however, that it would be necessary to register in legislation the measure that bans discrimination. Firstly, because of the symbolic importance of the legislative power to pronounce itself, since the judiciary ended up, in practice, legislating through the omission of Congress.

Contarato also recalled that the decision in the Supreme Court was made by a tight majority. Therefore, it could be reversed in case of a change in the composition of ministers in the Court.

The proposal approved by the senators alters legislation related to blood donation, in particular with regard to the principles and guidelines of the National Policy on Blood, Components and Blood Products. Therefore, it becomes one of the principles to “non-discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation of
donors”.

Failure to comply with this principle and guideline becomes, according to the proposal, considered a crime of prejudice. If committed by a public agent, it may be liable for a crime of responsibility.

Commenting on the approval of the project in the plenary, Contarato recalled an episode during the CPI at Covid, in which he confronted the Pocket Narist businessman Otávio Fakhoury who had attacked him with a homophobic post on social networks. On the occasion, senators expressed unanimous support for Contarato.

“I remember when I was the victim of an attack at the CPI, many senators showed solidarity. Two days after this fact, I provoked a meeting of leaders and said ‘Application for forgiveness or an act of solidarity is of no value if it is not accompanied by acts’ “, said the senator, thanking President Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) for having put the bill on the agenda.

Contarato also commented that the main rights achieved by the LGBTQIA+ community were through the judiciary and not through the legislature, which has been neglecting to address these issues.

“This House systematically closes its doors to the LGBTQIA+ population. Are we going to change this story? I’m not asking for anything too much. I’m just asking that these rights that have been enshrined through the judiciary [sejam votados no legislativo]. And then many colleagues say that the judiciary is legislating. No. The judiciary is pushing Brazil to Congress, given our inaction, our omission, our cowardice,” he said.

“I hope from the bottom of my heart that we are going to approve same-sex marriage here, that we are going to put it into law. This is the way. It is up to the legislative power to legislate,” he added.

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