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BRASILIA — While most Brazilians are focused on the country's deepening economic and political crises, some politicians have another priority.

A special committee in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies passed a controversial statute last week that defined a family as a concept beginning from the union of a man and a woman. Rio de Janeiro daily O Globo reports that the text was promoted by conservative lawmakers with close ties to the Catholic Church, over fierce opposition from the governing Workers' Party of President Dilma Rousseff and pro-LGBT activists who spent last week protesting outside parliament.

The parliamentary showdown comes after the May 2013 decision by a Federal Court to effectively legalize gay marriage. Religious lawmakers told O Globo that the decision was a case of the judiciary overstepping its authority, and that Congress had to defend the traditional family structure.

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A file image of LGBT protesters at Brazili's Congress in Brasilia — Photo: Antonio Cruz

The vote sparked virulent debate between supporters and opponents of the statute. One legislator supporting the proposed new definition of family told the newspaper that gay marriage was "Marxist state intervention." A same-sex marriage supporter likened the new statute to a coup d'état.


The special committee's debate was called by Chamber of Deputies President Eduardo Cunha, President Rousseff's foremost political enemy. The statute represents another conflict between Congress and the President, who have been embroiled in a political battle for months over a massive corruption probe targetting Rousseff's party.

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Geopolitics

Why Iran Is Pushing So Hard For A Russian Victory

The Supreme Leader's advisers in Tehran argue the Islamic Republic must back Russia in Ukraine because Russia is fighting a common enemy: the Western alliance.

Russia President Vladimir Putin meeting with Iran's leader Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran

-Analysis-

When he welcomed visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reassured his guest that Moscow rightfully defended itself when invading Ukraine. Speaking in Tehran, Khamenei declared: "Westerners are entirely opposed to a strong and independent Russia," and termed the NATO alliance "a dangerous creature."

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His rambling speech continued, filled with baseless claims about NATO, saying the Western military alliance "knows no limits" and "would have provoked this same war, with Crimea as its excuse," if Putin hadn't acted first.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the conservative Tehran paper Kayhan, which reputedly reflects the Supreme Leader's thinking, wrote in an editorial a week after Putin's visit and evoked a "celestial perspective" that could see the realities behind "the curtain" of the war. Khamenei, the editor wrote, knows that if America were to win this war, Iran would become its next target, which is why he considers the Russian "resistance" in Ukraine as tied to the Iranian regime's own security.

Thus, he concluded of Khamenei: "logically and naturally, he backs it."

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