SAO PAULO, May 5 (UPI) -- The Gay Pride Parade of Sao Paulo, Brazil, regarded by many as the world’s largest, drew over 100,000 spectators Sunday, police said.
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.