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Tiny African victory: Seychelles repeals ban on gay sex

Tiny African victory: Seychelles repeals ban on gay sex

Seychelles' repeal of its anti-homosexuality law was the lead story in today's "Today in Seychelles."
Seychelles’ repeal of its anti-homosexuality law was the lead story in today’s “Today in Seychelles.”

The  island nation of Seychelles today fulfilled a promise it made five years ago to repeal its anti-gay law.

The unenforced law provided for prison sentences of up to 14 years for same-sex intimacy between men.

By this blog’s count, that action drops to 78 the total number of countries worldwide with laws against same-sex intimacy.

A member of the African Union, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar.

Seychelles, with a population of about 92,000, is the third African country in recent years that has decriminalized homosexuality. Mozambique, on the southeastern coast of Africa, with a population of 24 million, did so in 2014. The tiny nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, in the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of central Africa, dropped its anti-LGBT law in 2012.

The newspaper Today in Seychelles reported the news on its front page under the headline “Homosexuality decriminalised.”  The repeal was approved in an open vote of the National Assembly.

Seychelles had committed itself to repeal in a statement to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 2011.

Seychelles location in the Indian Ocean. (Map courtesy of WorldAtlas.com)
Seychelles location in the Indian Ocean. (Map courtesy of WorldAtlas.com)The island nation of Seychelles yesterday fulfilled a promise it made five years ago to repeal its anti-gay law.

Despite its old anti-gay law, which has remained on the books since the Seychelles were part of the British Empire, the country is relatively tolerant of LGBTI people and has a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A same-sex wedding was conducted in Seychelles on June 13, 2015, on British territory (the British high commissioner’s residence).

Pink News reported that Seychelles Foreign Affairs Secretary Barry Faure noted pressures from the UK government: “Seychelles was committed in 2011 to review the law on homosexuality and this had not been done and Britain questions us saying that we have not made progress on this issue.”

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Godfred Yeboah Dame (Photo courtesy of Modern Ghana)

Ronny Govinden, attorney general of the Seychelles, said that international pressure had been a factor in the decision, Pink News reported. He said, “It is a priority for the country because whenever the Seychelles is participating in an international convention… we face pressures from other countries who are asking us to remove this law.”

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