Nations with anti-LGBT laws: 49% Muslim, 44% Christian

Almost half of the world’s 71 countries that have anti-LGBT laws are nations where a majority of the citizens are Muslims. By comparison, Christian-majority countries account for slightly fewer, but still have almost as many anti-LGBT laws on their books as their Muslim-majority counterparts.

Of the 71-nation total, 49 percent (35 countries, by this site’s tally) have a Muslim majority.

Majority-Christian countries account for 44 percent of the total (31 countries).

In recent years, the number of Christian-majority nations with anti-homosexuality laws has shrunk, both through court rulings (Trinidad in 2018, Belize in 2016) and through legislative action (Angola and Botswana in 2019, Seychelles and Nauru in 2016, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Palau in 2014).

Similar laws have been dropped in Hindu-majority India (2018) and in Buddhist-majority Bhutan (2021).

However, no Muslim-majority nation has acted recently to repeal an anti-LGBT law.

Map of the 71 countries where sexual relations between people of the same sex are illegal. Such laws apply in parts of Indonesia, so it is shown here in orange.
Map of the 71 countries where sexual relations between people of the same sex are illegal. Such laws apply in parts of Indonesia, so it is shown here in orange.

This article mirrors a newly updated Erasing 76 Crimes page, also titled “Nations with anti-LGBT laws: 49% Muslim, 44% Christian”.

Here are the nations in each category:

Muslim majority

1 Afghanistan
2 Algeria
3 Bangladesh
4 Brunei
5 Chad
6 Comoros
7 Egypt
8 Eritrea
9 Ethiopia
10 Gambia
11 Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra only)
12 Iran
13 Iraq
14 Kuwait
15 Lebanon (law ruled invalid in one court in 2014 and disqualified for use against same-sex intimacy in another court in 2017)
16 Libya
17 Malaysia
18 Maldives
19 Mauritania
20 Morocco
22 Oman
22 Pakistan
23 Palestine/Gaza Strip — lacking broad international recognition as a country
24 Qatar
25 Saudi Arabia
26 Senegal
27 Somalia
28 South Sudan
29 Sudan
30 Syria
31 Tunisia
32 Turkmenistan
33 United Arab Emirates
34 Uzbekistan
35 Yemen

Christian majority

Most, if not all, of these countries inherited their laws from the period when they were British colonies.

1 Antigua & Barbuda
2 Barbados
3 Burundi
4 Cameroon
5 Cook Islands
6 Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law” )
7 Ghana
8 Grenada
9 Guinea
10 Guyana
11 Jamaica
12 Kenya
13 Kiribati
14 Liberia
15 Malawi (enforcement of law allegedly suspended)
16 Namibia
17 Papua New Guinea
18 Samoa
19 Solomon Islands
20 Sierra Leone
21 St. Kitts & Nevis
22 St. Lucia
23 St Vincent & the Grenadines
24 Swaziland / Eswatini
25 Tanzania
26 Togo
27 Tonga
28 Tuvalu
29 Uganda
30 Zambia
31 Zimbabwe

Other

1 Mauritius
2 Myanmar
3 Nigeria — roughly 50-50 Christian-Muslim
4 Singapore
5 Sri Lanka

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 [email protected]

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  1. Many of these countries are very very small. Break down by population and the percentage is much different.

    Muslim: 71% , 1.2 billion
    Christian: 24%, 437 million
    Other: 5%, 83 million

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Nations with anti-LGBT laws: 49% Muslim, 44% Christian

Map of the 71 countries where sexual relations between people of the same sex are illegal. Such laws apply in parts of Indonesia, so it is shown here in orange.
Map of the 71 countries where sexual relations between people of the same sex are illegal. Such laws apply in parts of Indonesia, so it is shown here in orange.

This article was most recently updated in April 2022.

Nations with anti-LGBT laws: 49% Muslim, 44% Christian

Many of the world’s 71 countries with anti-LGBT laws have Muslim majorities, slightly more than the number that are majority-Christian.

Of the total, 49 percent (35 countries, by this site’s tally) have a Muslim majority. Majority-Christian countries account for 44 percent of the total (31 countries).

The number of Christian-majority nations with anti-homosexuality laws has shrunk in recent years, both through court rulings (Trinidad in 2018, Belize in 2016) and through legislative action (Angola and Botswana in 2019, Seychelles and Nauru in 2016, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Palau in 2014).  Similar laws have been dropped in Hindu-majority India (2018) and in Buddhist-majority Bhutan (2021). Meanwhile, no Muslim-majority nation has repealed an anti-LGBT law.

Here are the nations in each category:

Muslim majority

1 Afghanistan
2 Algeria
3 Bangladesh
4 Brunei
5 Chad
6 Comoros
7 Egypt
8 Eritrea
9 Ethiopia
10 Gambia
11 Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra only)
12 Iran
13 Iraq
14 Kuwait
15 Lebanon (law ruled invalid in one court in 2014 and disqualified for use against same-sex intimacy in another court in 2017)
16 Libya
17 Malaysia
18 Maldives
19 Mauritania
20 Morocco
22 Oman
22 Pakistan
23 Palestine/Gaza Strip — lacking broad international recognition as a country
24 Qatar
25 Saudi Arabia
26 Senegal
27 Somalia
28 South Sudan
29 Sudan
30 Syria
31 Tunisia
32 Turkmenistan
33 United Arab Emirates
34 Uzbekistan
35 Yemen

Christian majority

1 Antigua & Barbuda
2 Barbados
3 Burundi
4 Cameroon
5 Cook Islands
6 Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law” )
7 Ghana
8 Grenada
9 Guinea
10 Guyana
11 Jamaica
12 Kenya
13 Kiribati
14 Liberia
15 Malawi (enforcement of law allegedly suspended)
16 Namibia
17 Papua New Guinea
18 Samoa
19 Solomon Islands
20 Sierra Leone
21 St. Kitts & Nevis
22 St. Lucia
23 St Vincent & the Grenadines
24 Swaziland / Eswatini
25 Tanzania
26 Togo
27 Tonga
28 Tuvalu
29 Uganda
30 Zambia
31 Zimbabwe

Other

1 Mauritius
2 Myanmar
3 Nigeria — roughly 50-50 Christian-Muslim
4 Singapore
5 Sri Lanka

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 [email protected]

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