39 Commonwealth nations still have anti-LGBTI laws

Map shows members of the Commonwealth of Nations, including those with anti-homosexuality laws and those that have repealed them. (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)
Map shows members of the Commonwealth of Nations, including those with anti-homosexuality laws and those that have repealed them. (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)

Among the 53 nations in the Commonwealth of countries that formerly belonged to the British Empire, the following 39 still have anti-homosexuality laws, which first were imposed by the British. Worldwide, 79+ countries have anti-homosexuality laws.

The following list includes links to this blog’s coverage of them.

Africa

  1. Botswana
  2. Cameroon
  3. Ghana
  4. Kenya
  5. Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
  6. Namibia
  7. Nigeria
  8. Seychelles. Seychelles does not prosecute anyone under their anti-sodomy law, has promised to repeal it, but has not yet done so. A same-sex wedding was conducted in Seychelles on June 13, 2015, on British territory (the British high commissioner’s residence). Seychelles laws currently have no provision for marriage equality.
  9. Sierra Leone
  10. Swaziland
  11. Tanzania
  12. Uganda
  13. Zambia

Lesotho was formerly on the list, but it has adopted a new Penal Code that apparently eliminates the nation’s former common-law crime of sodomy.

Asia

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Brunei
  3. India
  4. Malaysia
  5. Maldives
  6. Pakistan
  7. Singapore
  8. Sri Lanka

Americas

  1. Antigua & Barbuda
  2. Barbados
  3. Belize
  4. Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law.”)
  5. Grenada
  6. Guyana
  7. Jamaica
  8. St Kitts & Nevis
  9. St Lucia
  10. St Vincent & the Grenadines
  11. Trinidad & Tobago

Oceania

  1. Kirbati
  2. Nauru
  3. Papua New Guinea
  4. Samoa
  5. Solomon Islands
  6. Tonga
  7. Tuvalu

Former members of the Commonwealth

These African nations — formerly part of the British Empire — have maintained anti-homosexuality laws but have withdrawn from the Commonwealth:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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    34 Commonwealth nations have laws against gay sex

    Map shows members of the Commonwealth of Nations, including those with anti-homosexuality laws and those that have repealed them. (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)
    Map shows members of the Commonwealth, including nations with anti-homosexuality laws and those that have repealed them. (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)

    The following 34 Commonwealth nations still have anti-homosexuality laws — roughly two-thirds of the group’s total of 53 nations. Worldwide, 71 countries still have such anti-homosexuality laws.

    About half of the world’s laws against same-sex intimacy can be traced back to laws that were imposed by the British on their colonies. Almost all Commonwealth countries formerly were part of the British Empire.

    These are the latest changes among Commonwealth nations with such laws, which totaled 39 as of  early 2016:

    • In June 2019, Botswana‘s High court overturned that nation’s colonial-era anti-LGBT laws.
    • May 2016, Seychelles repealed its anti-gay law.
    • In  August 2016,  the Supreme Court in Belize overturned that nation’s anti-sodomy law as applied to consensual sex.
    • Maldives retained its anti-gay law, but left the Commonwealth in October 2016. In November 2018, it decided to return.
    • The Gambia has so far retained its anti-gay law, despite having elected a less anti-LGBT leader. It reportedly planned to rejoin the Commonwealth in February 2018, but that change has not been reflected in the Commonwealth’s official membership list.
    • In April 2018, Trinidad‘s High Court overturned that nation’s sodomy law.
    • In September 2018, India‘s Supreme Court overturned the country’s sodomy law.

    This article was most recently revised in March 2021.

    The following list includes links to this blog’s coverage of the 38 Commonwealth nations with anti-LGBT laws:

    Africa

    1. Cameroon
    2. Ghana
    3. Kenya
    4. Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
    5. Namibia
    6. Nigeria
    7. Sierra Leone
    8. Swaziland
    9. Tanzania
    10. Uganda
    11. Zambia

    Lesotho was formerly on the list, but it has adopted a new Penal Code that apparently eliminates the nation’s former common-law crime of sodomy.

    Asia

    1. Bangladesh
    2. Brunei
    3. Malaysia
    4. Maldives
    5. Pakistan
    6. Singapore
    7. Sri Lanka

    Americas

    1. Antigua & Barbuda
    2. Barbados
    3. Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law.”)
    4. Grenada
    5. Guyana
    6. Jamaica
    7. St Kitts & Nevis
    8. St Lucia
    9. St Vincent & the Grenadines

    Oceania

    1. Kirbati
    2. Nauru
    3. Papua New Guinea
    4. Samoa
    5. Solomon Islands
    6. Tonga
    7. Tuvalu

    Former members of the Commonwealth

    These nations — formerly part of the British Empire — have maintained anti-homosexuality laws but have withdrawn from the Commonwealth:

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    Written by Colin Stewart

    Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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