Gabon formally decriminalizes homosexuality

Gabon formally decriminalizes homosexuality

Gabon on Tuesday decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations, becoming one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to legalize them.

The Gabonese Senate on June 29 approved a bill to repeal a 2019 law that criminalized same-sex relationships by a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a 5 million Central African CFA franc ($8,561) fine.

And on Tuesday, July 7, President Ali Bongo Ondimba signed the repeal measure into law.

“I applaud the collective decision by Gabon’s parliament, government and president to decriminalize same-sex sexual relations,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in a press release. “By doing so, Gabon is righting a grave injustice inflicted on the LGBTI community in the country.”

The initial proposal to legalize LGBTQ relationships was approved in the lower house of the Gabonese Parliament on June 24.

Angola and Lesotho are among the African countries that have decriminalized same-sex relationships in recent years, and LGBTQ rights advocates are demanding more to join.

“Today’s historic signing of a law decriminalizing same-sex relations in Gabon is a pivotal moment in the global fight for LGBTQ rights,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a press release. “This critical win for basic human rights gives us reason to hope for more awareness and more victories across the continent.”

Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda are among the 70 countries in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized.

“It is shocking that over a third of the world’s countries continue to criminalize same-sex love, in stark contrast to basic human dignity and international human rights standards,” OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern in an Instagram post. “The decision in Gabon decreases the total number of countries criminalizing same-sex relations by one. This is not only an affirmation of the right of LGBTQ people in Gabon to love whom they choose, but also an inspiration to advocates in countries in which these bans still exist or are being considered.”

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  1. Mitch
    July 11, 07:16 Reply

    We are singing unto Beyoncé,
    Singing hallelujah.
    We are dancing unto Beyoncé,
    Dancing hallelujah.

    I just hope this spate of decriminalization of homosexuality in this century doesn’t get overturned like the several decriminalizations of homosexuality that were overturned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Biko!
    Let the good have come to stay.

  2. Delle
    July 11, 09:31 Reply

    Go Gabon!

    Mitch, you should be thrown into a Lake. Don’t worry for Beyonce will send her Beyngels to catch you lest you strike your shriveled feet against a stone.

    #yimu

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