Gay sex is much less widely criminalized than in the past. Back in 2006, 92 countries had anti-gay laws. Now the total is down to 73. (See list here.)
The latest change came on Jan. 23, when Angola adopted a new penal code that omitted its law against “vices against nature” that had been in effect since 1886, when Angola was a Portuguese colony.
LGBTI rights activists hope upcoming court rulings in Kenya and Botswana will drop the count to 71.
The international movement toward just treatment of LGBTI people worldwide has been slow and unsteady. A year ago the tally was 75 nations with anti-gay laws. Then Trinidad’s High Court overturned the country’s anti-sodomy law and the Indian Supreme Court overturned the nation’s 158-year-old prohibition of sex “against the order of nature.”
A new anti-gay law added Chad to the list, bringing the total back up to 74, but now Angola has dropped it back to 73.
Other countries that recently made progress have included:
- Belize , where the Supreme Count in August 2016 overturned that nation’s anti-sodomy law as applied to consensual sex.
- The island nations of Seychelles and Nauru, which both repealed their anti-gay laws in May 2016.
- Mozambique, on the southeastern coast of Africa, with a population of 24 million. Like Angola, it is a former Portuguese colony. Like Angola, in 2014 it adopted a new Penal Code that omitted the colonial-era anti-homosexuality provision..
- The tiny nations of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean and São Tomé and Príncipe, in the Atlantic Ocean off the shores of central Africa. Both decriminalized homosexuality and were dropped from the blog’s list in 2014.
- Northern Cyprus, which repealed its anti-homosexuality law in January 2014, eliminating the final European location with such a law. (Northern Cyprus is recognized as a country only by Turkey.)
For more information and this blog’s full list of countries with anti-homosexuality laws, see the article “73 countries where homosexuality is illegal.”