A Brazilian pastor has ordered event security guards to remove two lesbians, who were protesting against the church leader by prominently kissing each other passionately in front of him as he gave a message to thousands gathered at an evangelical event earlier this month.
Pastor Marco Feliciano did not mention anything to do with the women being lesbians but indicated that their behavior would not be tolerated at the event. Hee announced at the event that "this is a house of God," and "this isn't a place where anything goes."
"Those two girls have to leave here handcuffed. No use trying to run, guards are headed there now. This here isn't a place where anything goes. It's the house of God," Marco Feliciano said in Portuguese through his microphone when he noticed the women's sexualized protest.
The Municipal Civil Guard escorted Yunka Mihura, 20, and Joana Palhares, 18, out of the event on Sept. 15 and handed them over the police, who took them to the First District Police Station of São Sebastião where the police filed an incident report.
The women told iGay that they were only at the event to protest Pastor Feliciano's previous statements on homosexuality. They positioned themselves near the front of the crowd in front of the center of the stage and climbed up on top of others' shoulders so they could be clearly seen by the pastor. They then proceeded to carry out their protest by giving each other a long passionate kiss that continued for a significant length of time.
After being evicted from the event, the women sought to allege that they had been victimized, saying that other heterosexual couples were kissing during the event, though no other people were reportedly seen in such a passionate public embrace.
In the conference video, the women appear to be kissing while sitting on the shoulders of others in the audience, several feet above the heads of most of the crowd.
The pastor's words did not make it clear whether they were forced out of the event because of their sexual orientation or simply because of their inappropriate sexual behavior at a church event.
In the aftermath of the event, the women also made further allegations, saying that the guards who removed them from the event beat them and slapped them in the face.
The women's lawyer, Daniel Galani, interpreted the women's expulsion as one that placed "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," he told PRI.
Yunka has claimed that her actions were within her rights because the event was open to the public and "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."
Close to 70,000 people attended the event which calls itself an "evangelical social-cultural week."