The following 34 Commonwealth nations still have anti-homosexuality laws — roughly two-thirds of the group’s total of 53 nations. Worldwide, 71 countries still have such anti-homosexuality laws.
About half of the world’s laws against same-sex intimacy can be traced back to laws that were imposed by the British on their colonies. Almost all Commonwealth countries formerly were part of the British Empire.
These are the latest changes among Commonwealth nations with such laws, which totaled 39 as of early 2016:
- In June 2019, Botswana‘s High court overturned that nation’s colonial-era anti-LGBT laws.
- May 2016, Seychelles repealed its anti-gay law.
- In August 2016, the Supreme Court in Belize overturned that nation’s anti-sodomy law as applied to consensual sex.
- Maldives retained its anti-gay law, but left the Commonwealth in October 2016. In November 2018, it decided to return.
- The Gambia has so far retained its anti-gay law, despite having elected a less anti-LGBT leader. It reportedly planned to rejoin the Commonwealth in February 2018, but that change has not been reflected in the Commonwealth’s official membership list.
- In April 2018, Trinidad‘s High Court overturned that nation’s sodomy law.
- In September 2018, India‘s Supreme Court overturned the country’s sodomy law.
This article was most recently revised in March 2021.
The following list includes links to this blog’s coverage of the 38 Commonwealth nations with anti-LGBT laws:
- Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
- Sierra Leone
Lesotho was formerly on the list, but it has adopted a new Penal Code that apparently eliminates the nation’s former common-law crime of sodomy.
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Dominica (But see “Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law.”)
- St Kitts & Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent & the Grenadines
Former members of the Commonwealth
These nations — formerly part of the British Empire — have maintained anti-homosexuality laws but have withdrawn from the Commonwealth:
- Commonwealth: Maybe talk about LGBTI rights in 2018? (December 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Protesters seek to end LGBTI repression in Commonwealth (November 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Activists to U.K.: Fight harder vs. global LGBT persecution (June 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Queen honors LGBTI leader seeking change in Barbados (January 2015, 76crimes.com)
- ‘Umbrellas of Love’ for Commonwealth’s LGBT outcasts (July 2014, 76crimes.com)
- India turns back the clock, restores anti-gay law (December 3013, 76crimes.com)
- Homosexuality illegal in 41 out of 53 Commonwealth countries – report (November 2013, The Guardian)
- The 42 Commonwealth Nations where being gay can land you in prison (August 2013, Pink News)
- 74 countries where homosexuality is illegal
- 1000s who died in anti-gay, anti-trans attacks (updates)
- 100s are in prison for being gay
- 14 nations have death penalty for gay sex; 5 carry it out
- 21 varieties of traditional African homosexuality