Slowly, slowly, nations are giving up the idea that they should make it a crime to love someone outside the bounds of traditional heterosexual relations. This month, the tally of countries with such anti-gay laws dropped to 72.
Gabon in central Africa is the most recent country to have repealed its anti-gay law. On July 7, President Ali Bongo Ondimba signed the measure revoking the anti-homosexuality law that had been in effect in Gabon for just one year.
For the full current list of countries with anti-gay laws, see “72 countries where homosexuality is illegal”.
Fourteen years ago, 92 countries criminalized homosexuality or otherwise punished it, according to ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), which began publishing regular updates on “State-Sponsored Homophobia” in 2006.
Countries that recently repealed or overturned such laws include:
- Botswana (2019)
- Angola (2019)
- India (2018)
- Trinidad & Tobago (2018)
- Belize (2016)
- Seychelles (2016)
- Nauru (2016)
- Mozambique (2015)
- Palau (2014)
- São Tomé and Príncipe (2014)
Rowing again the tide, Chad adopted a new anti-gay law in 2017.
There’s reason to hope that the decriminalization trend will continue.
Multiple lawsuits by activists in Singapore are challenging that nation’s anti-homosexuality aw.
Last year the lower house of parliament in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan voted nearly unanimously to repeal the nation’s anti-gay law. It awaits action in the upper house.
Jamaican/Canadian activist Maurice Tomlinson is pressing lawsuits challenging Jamaica’s laws against same-sex intimacy and same-sex marriage.
Other Caribbean activists are preparing or have already filed lawsuits challenging the buggery and indecency laws in Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Saint Lucia.