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Bhutan moves 1 step away from repealing anti-homosexuality law

The parliament of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan voted last week to repeal the nation’s anti-homosexuality laws. When the king of Bhutan approves the repeal, the action would reduce the number of nations with anti-gay laws to 71 from 72, by this news site’s tally.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Bhutan is located between India and China east of Nepal. (Map courtesy of Refugee-net.org)

Reuters reported:

Bhutan parliament decriminalizes homosexuality, to delight of activists

KATHMANDU – A joint sitting of both houses of Bhutan’s parliament approved a bill on [Dec. 10] to legalize gay sex, making the tiny Himalayan kingdom the latest Asian nation to take steps towards easing restrictions on same-sex relationships.

Sections 213 and 214 of the penal code had criminalized “unnatural sex”, widely interpreted as homosexuality.

Lawmaker Ugyen Wangdi, the vice chairperson of a joint panel considering the changes, said 63 of the total 69 members of both houses of parliament had voted in favour of amending the code to scrap the provision. Six members were absent.

“Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now,” Wangdi told Reuters by phone from the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, without giving details.

The changes still need to be approved by the King of Bhutan to become a law.

For more information, read the full Reuters article.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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