The mission of the 18th annual parade sought the criminalization of homophobia. A founder of the parade, Nelson Matias, deflected criticism it had become less overtly political and more of a block party by commenting, “The parade itself is political. Our success is to show resistance.”
Organizers claimed over a million people attended the event through the city center, which was decorated with hundreds of rainbow-motif balloons and flags, but the police estimate was considerably smaller.
The organization Gay Group from Bahia said 310 sexually-directed hate crimes occurred in Brazil in the last year. Largely because of pressure from religious groups, the Brazilian Congress has not passed legislation specifically against homophobic actions.
Although same-sex unions were legalized in 2004, many jurisdictions have been reluctant carry out marriages. In 2013 the Supreme Court ruled local courts must honor same-sex marriage applications.