June 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - With financial and moral support from the country’s highest authorities, Brazil’s “gay pride” marches have long been billed as the largest in the world, with the city of Sao Paulo boasting the number one spot. Generous estimates by the government’s Military Police offered the seemingly impossible figures of between 2.5 and four million participants at the annual event, a figure enthusiastically seconded by parade organizers and dutifully repeated by the international media.

However, this year’s parade offered a starkly different picture. Following a study commissioned by the Datafolha Institute by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper in 2011, which exposed the wildly-inflated nature of last year’s attendance figures, the Military Police are refusing to give any estimate of the attendance for this year’s parade. The Datafolha Institute, however, says that the 2012 LGBT Pride Parade brought in only 270,000 people, a number that represents a small fraction of previous and current estimates by organizers.

But conflicting estimates aside, the Brazilian media and the Military Police are in agreement on one fact: this year’s parade was much smaller than last year’s. Although the “Gay Pride” organizers are ultimately claiming the physically impossible figure of 4.5 million attendees this year, after initially hesitating to give an estimate, the Military Police had a different view. “There were a lot fewer people than in 2011,” Colonel Marcelo Prado told Veja magazine.

“With less financing, better behaved, and highly monitored, the 16th LGBT Pride Parade shrank,” noted Veja. “For the first time in the history of the event, the organizers did not officially publicize the attendance on Paulista Avenue in the afternoon this Sunday. For the Military Police and the public that was present, the event attracted far fewer people than in previous years.”

The lower attendance was also reflected in the number of medical interventions for drunkenness and other causes. Although the licentiousness characteristic of homosexual demonstrations, including public sex acts, was still a problem, the number of medical cases dropped from 500 the year before to only 100 this year.

The parade has also seen a substantial cut in funds. Although it has been generously subsidized in years past by sympathetic government officials and businessmen, this year’s budget dropped the equivalent of USD 60,000, from $220,000 to $160,000.

Abandonment by politicians follows controversy

Notably absent from the march were politicians and candidates for office, who in previous years have been much more eager to associate themselves with the event. According to the news service Brazil 247, this year only two candidates for public office marched in the event, and only one sat on the stage with organizers: Fernando Haddad, a former Minister of Education whose claim to fame is the creation of “homophobia kits” for schools that included videos so obscene that President Rousseff was forced to publicly repudiate them and order a revamping of the program.

“The candidates who were not at the Parade or didn’t interest themselves in make contact and get to know us, are people who do not have a broad vision of politics, or don’t want to diminish discrimination and prejudice,” complained Fernando Quaresma, president of the Gay Pride Parade Association.

The sparse attendance of both the public and politicians at this year’s Gay Pride Parade reflects a growing opposition in Brazilian society to the homosexual movement, which has for years sought the passage of laws that would outlaw criticism of the homosexual lifestyle.

The 2011 march only served to accentuate the conflict between gay activists and the Catholic Church, which denomination the majority of Brazilians belong to. Marchers mocked images of Catholic saints openly, despite laws prohibiting disrespectful treatment of religious beliefs. When Protestant televangelist Silas Malafia denounced the desecrations, he was threatened with prosecution by officials of the regime of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, a member of the country’s ruling gay-friendly Worker’s Party.

Rousseff narrowly prevailed in the 2010 elections after dropping in the polls due to her pro-abortion, pro-gay advocacy. She eventually signed a declaration promising not to initiate legislation to legalize abortion, nor to prohibit criticism of the homosexual lifestyle.

Recent polls have indicated that, despite ongoing promotion of the homosexual agenda by the ruling Worker’s Party, a strong majority of Brazilians continue to oppose homosexual marriage and civil unions.