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African Country Legalizes Homosexuality

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Mozambique - Google MapsGay sex will officially be legal in Mozambique from 29 June. The southern African nation will officially be added to the list of countries with no law against same-sex relations, 180 days after the government agreed to the revised Penal Code.

Legislators specifically revised the penal code that allowed ‘security measures’ to be taken against people ‘who habitually engage in vices against nature’. This was used to discriminate against and prosecute LGBTI people that could have sent them to a workhouse for up to three years.

But as this was done rarely it was considered by many to be a meaningless clause in the statute books. Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique has said: ‘The new Penal Code sweeps away a great deal of the musty colonial legacy, including the mention of “vices against nature”. ‘Now not even the most contorted of arguments could claim that acts of gay sex between consenting adults are somehow illegal.’

Authored By Joe Morgan – See the Full Story at Gay Star News

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Gambian President Signs Bill to Lock up Gays for Life

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Gambia - Apple MapsAfrica took another huge step backwards on LGBT rights this week.

Pink News reports:

The president of Gambia has signed into law a bill which calls for life imprisonment for people caught having gay sex. The law was passed by the National Assembly in September, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.” The Associated Press reports that a draft bill contains identical language to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law earlier this year.

I guess it’s easier to scapegoat the LGBT community than to deal with the real problems afflicting your country.

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Singapore High Court Upholds Sodomy Law

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Singapore - google mapsSingapore’s High Court upheld the country’s sodomy law yesterday.

Towleroad.com reports:

The law, known as Section 377a, has been in place since Singapore was a British colony. It carries up to a two-year jail term for men who commit acts of “gross indecency” with other men, whether in public or in private. Yesterday’s ruling came in response to lawsuits by couple of 16 years Gary Lim [above right] and Kenneth Chee [above left], and by Tan Eng Hong, who was charged under the anti-sodomy law after being arrested while having sex in a public restroom in 2010. Both lawsuits argued that Section 377a infringes their constitutional right to equal protection under Article 12 of the Constitution, and violates their right to life and liberty, as guaranteed by Article 9.

It’s a huge blow to LGBT rights in the country, especially since the government has refused to repeal the law.

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Jamaica Activist Ends Legal Challenge Against Anti-Sodomy Law

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

javed-jeghai-jamaicaA young activist who brought a challenge against Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law last year has withdrawn it because he is fearful of a violent backlash.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Last year, Javed Jaghai made headlines after initiating a constitutional court challenge to Jamaica’s 1864 law that bans sex between men. He argued that the anti-sodomy law fuels homophobia and violates a charter of human rights adopted in 2011 that guarantees people the right to privacy. But in an affidavit, Jaghai said he has been “threatened enough times to know that I am vulnerable.” The 25-year-old man believes his “loved ones are under threat” by intolerant people and the drawn-out court challenge is causing too much stress and anxiety. “Though the cause and the case are noble, I am no longer willing to gamble with my life or the lives of my parents and siblings,” Jaghai wrote in a statement withdrawing his Supreme Court claim.

It saddens me to see that someone seeking justice can be bullied into silence like this, especially by threats against his family.

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Nepal LGBT Rights Set to Go Backward

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Nepal Gay RightsAfter becoming one of the most progressive Asian countries in the wake of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, Nepal is preparing to recriminalize gay sex and block same sex marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

Today, the LGBTI community faces fresh opposition as the law ministry under law and justice minister Narahari Acharya of the ruling Nepali Congress is seeking to enact punitive laws to recriminalize gay sex, Sunil Pant, the country’s first openly gay politician and former member of parliament, told Gay Star News in an email. Gay sex was decriminalized in 2007 after Nepal’s parliament voted to abolish the monarchy. Up till then, homosexuality was deemed an ‘unnatural sex act’ that carried a prison term of up to a year. Under the new laws, gay sex acts will be punishable by three years imprisonment. The new laws will also prohibit same-sex unions, oral and anal sex among heterosexuals, and narrow the definition of rape to only apply to women.

It’s extremely sad to see that a country that had made such progress on KGBT rights may be turning its back on its LGBT community. Maybe the ban on oral sex for straights will help stir up some opposition?

It just goes to show that you can never stop being vigilant in the fight for equal rights.

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Malawi Suspends Enforcement Of Anti-Gay Laws

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

In response to a formal inquiry from the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Malawian Justice Minister Janet Chikaya-Banda has announced that the government of Malawi will cease enforcement of the nation’s laws against same-sex sexual relations while a court-ordered review of the country’s existing anti-gay laws is completed.

Pink News reports:

[Chikaya-Banda] said the review had stalled due to financial constraints, despite a ruling last autumn by the High Court to review the constitutionality of the laws.

This announcement does not, however, represent the first instance of such laws in Malawi being suspended. The enforcement of Malawi’s anti-gay laws had previously been halted for a brief period of time in November 2012 by the Justice Minister at the time, Ralph Kasambara. “If we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional, it would be an embarrassment to government,” Kasambara told Reuters at the time.

This move was viewed at the time to be in line with Malawian President Joyce Banda’s May 2012 commitment to decriminalize consensual sexual relations between two people of the same sex, as well as the previous Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume’s December 2011 inclusion of the country’s anti-gay laws within a list of pieces of legislation he preferred to see reviewed, in a report issued the same week as then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s landmark address before the United Nations summit in Geneva on the subject of LGBT rights.

However, this decision was quickly reversed a few days later under intense pressure and lobbying from the Malawi Council of Churches, a group of 24 Protestant churches in Malawi. Upon issuing this reversal, Kasambara stated that he would rather see the national parliament settle the issue.

Homosexuality is currently illegal in Malawi under Section 153 and 156 of the nation’s Penal Code, which prohibit “unnatural offenses” and offenses against “public decency,” respectively. The order issued today by the current Justice Minister will act to halt enforcement of these provisions.

Alabama Sodomy Law Not Dead Yet?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Alabama Attorney General Luther StrangeThe Alabama Sodomy Law may not be entirely dead yet.

Joe.My.God reports:

Last Friday an Alabama appeals court struck down the state’s ban on consensual oral and anal sex. Yesterday Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange indicated that he will seek an appeal of that ruling. In a statement, the attorney general said the office believed the law was unconstitutional as applied to consensual acts. However, he said he was concerned with the impact the decision may have on prosecutions involving non-consensual sex.

It’s the same line AG Ken Cucinelli tried to push to preserve the Virginia sodomy law. He failed.

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Alabama Sodomy Law Struck Down By State Supreme Court

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Alabama mapThe Alabama sodomy law, invalid since 2003, was finally actually struck down yesterday.

Joe.My.God reports:

An Alabama appeals court yesterday struck down the state’s ban on consensual oral and anal sex. Such acts have been legal nationwide since Lawrence V Texas, but still. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued its unanimous ruling in Williams vs. Alabama, the appeal of a Dallas County man who was convicted of sexual misconduct, though the jury found the homosexual sexual encounter was consensual. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals said today a portion of Alabama’s sexual misconduct statute is unconstitutional. It was referring to code section 13A-6-65, which reads in part, “consent is no defense to a prosecution.” The state appeals court noted the legislative commentary for the statute says the consent section “was changed by the legislature to make all homosexual conduct criminal, and consent is no defense.”

Sodomy laws have been used selectively to persecute gays in many states, and were all invalidated by the US Supreme Court in 2003, but many states have refused to remove them from their books.

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USA, Louisiana: House Votes 66-27 to Keep Invalid Sodomy Law

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Louisiana mapA law that was invalidated by the US Supreme Court more than a decade ago will live on in Louisiana.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, sought to remove consensual sex between people of the same sex from Louisiana’s crimes against nature law. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a similar Texas law a decade ago in Lawrence v. Texas. Smith brought the bill after Baton Rouge-area police arrested gay men using the law but couldn’t charge them because the district attorney said the law was unenforceable. She said the bill would help police officers do their jobs more efficiently by getting rid of an unusable law. “The bill only removes unconstitutional language,” she said. But Smith couldn’t win the backing of the House, which voted 66-27 against her repeal proposal. The bill was opposed by religious and conservative organizations.

You really get the feeling that these anti-gay folks on the right will do everything they can to hold on to their bigotry until the day they die, no matter how ineffective it is.

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Lebanon: Judge Rules Gay Relations Don’t Contradict the Laws of Nature

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Lebanon - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

A positive ruling for LGBT rights in Lebanon.

Dot429 reports:

A transgender woman was accused by the state of having a same-sex relationship with a man. However, Judge Naji El Dahdah, of Jdeide Court, Beirut threw out the case on January 28, 2014. The woman on trial was born with an intersex condition but was assigned a male identity. However, after growing up feeling that she was female, she underwent gender reassignment surgery in the 1990s. Despite the surgery, she was still listed as a male on her identity papers, which led to Lebanese authorities believing she had breached Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual intercourse and subsequently same-sex relationships. El Dahdah, however, rejected the case based on a previous ruling by Judge Mounir Suleiman in 2009.

One small step forward in a part of the world that usually sees very little progress on LGBT rights.

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