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LGBT rights

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LGBT rights

This article is about current LGBT rights around the world. For historical and current movements to further LGBT rights, see LGBT social movements.

Laws affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people vary greatly by country or territory—everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex romantic/sexual activity or identity.

LGBT rights are human rights[1] and civil rights.[2] LGBT rights laws include, but are not limited to, the following: government recognition of same-sex relationships (such as via same-sex marriage or civil unions), LGBT adoption, recognition of LGBT parenting, anti-bullying legislation and student non-discrimination laws to protect LGBT children and/or students, immigration equality laws, anti-discrimination laws for employment and housing, hate crime laws providing enhanced criminal penalties for prejudice-motivated violence against LGBT people, equal age of consent laws, and laws related to sexual orientation and military service.

Anti-LGBT laws include, but are not limited to, the following: sodomy laws penalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity with fines, jail terms, or the death penalty, anti-'lesbianism' laws, and higher ages of consent for same-sex activity.

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights, which was followed up with a report from the UN Human Rights Commission documenting violations of the rights of LGBT people, including hate crime, criminalization of homosexuality, and discrimination. Following up on the report, the UN Human Rights Commission urged all countries which had not yet done so to enact laws protecting basic LGBT rights.[3][4]

History of LGBT-related laws

Ancient Celts

According to Aristotle, although most "belligerent nations" were strongly influenced by their women, the Celts were unusual because their men openly preferred male lovers (Politics II 1269b).[5] H. D. Rankin in Celts and the Classical World notes that "Athenaeus echoes this comment (603a) and so does Ammianus (30.9). It seems to be the general opinion of antiquity."[6] In book XIII of his Deipnosophists, the Roman Greek rhetorician and grammarian Athenaeus, repeating assertions made by Diodorus Siculus in the 1st century BC (Bibliotheca historica 5:32), wrote that Celtic women were beautiful but that the men preferred to sleep together. Diodorus went further, stating that "the young men will offer themselves to strangers and are insulted if the offer is refused". Rankin argues that the ultimate source of these assertions is likely to be Poseidonius and speculates that these authors may be recording male "bonding rituals".[7]

Ancient India

Throughout Hindu and Vedic texts there are many descriptions of saints, demigods, and even the Supreme Lord transcending gender norms and manifesting multiple combinations of sex and gender.[8] There are several instances in ancient Indian epic poetry of same sex depictions and unions by gods and goddesses. There are several stories of depicting love between same sexes especially among kings and queens. Kamasutra, the ancient Indian treatise on love talks about feelings for same sexes. Transsexuals are also venerated e.g. Lord Vishnu as Mohini and Lord Shiva as Ardhanarishwara (which means half woman).[9]

Ancient Israel and West Asia

The ancient Law of Moses (the Torah) forbids men lying with men (intercourse) in Leviticus 18 and gives a story of attempted homosexual rape in Genesis in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities being soon destroyed after that. The death penalty was prescribed.

Middle Assyrian Law Codes dating 1075 BC states: "If a man have intercourse with his brother-in-arms, they shall turn him into a eunuch.

Ancient Persia

In Persia homosexuality and homoerotic expressions were tolerated in numerous public places, from monasteries and seminaries to taverns, military camps, bathhouses, and coffee houses. In the early Safavid era (1501–1723), male houses of prostitution (amrad khane) were legally recognized and paid taxes. Persian poets, such as Sa’di (d. 1291), Hafiz (d. 1389), and Jami (d. 1492), wrote poems replete with homoerotic allusions. The two most commonly documented forms were commercial sex with transgender young males or males enacting transgender roles exemplified by the köçeks and the bacchás, and Sufi spiritual practices in which the practitioner admired the form of a beautiful boy in order to enter ecstatic states and glimpse the beauty of god.

Ancient Rome

The "conquest mentality" of the ancient Romans shaped Roman homosexual practices.[10] In the Roman Republic, a citizen's political liberty was defined in part by the right to preserve his body from physical compulsion or use by others;[11] for the male citizen to submit his body to the giving of pleasure was considered servile.[12] As long as a man played the penetrative role, it was socially acceptable and considered natural for him to have same-sex relations, without a perceived loss of his masculinity or social standing.[13] The bodies of citizen youths were strictly off-limits, and the Lex Scantinia imposed penalites on those who committed a sex crime (stuprum) against a freeborn male minor.[14] Acceptable same-sex partners were males excluded from legal protections as citizens: slaves, male prostitutes, and the infames, entertainers or others who might be technically free but whose lifestyles set them outside the law.

"Homosexual" and "heterosexual" were thus not categories of Roman sexuality, and no words exist in Latin that would precisely translate these concepts.[15] A male citizen who willingly performed oral sex or received anal sex was disparaged, but there is only limited evidence of legal penalties against these men, who were presumably "homosexual" in the modern sense.[16] In courtroom and political rhetoric, charges of effeminacy and passive sexual behaviors were directed particularly at "democratic" politicians (populares) such as Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.[17]

Roman law addressed the rape of a male citizen as early as the 2nd century BC, when a ruling was issued in a case that may have involved a man of same-sex orientation. It was ruled that even a man who was "disreputable and questionable" had the same right as other citizens not to have his body subjected to forced sex.[18] A law probably dating to the dictatorship of Julius Caesar defined rape as forced sex against "boy, woman, or anyone"; the rapist was subject to execution, a rare penalty in Roman law.[19] A male classified as infamis, such as a prostitute or actor, could not as a matter of law be raped, nor could a slave, who was legally classified as property; the slave's owner, however, could prosecute the rapist for property damage.[20]

In the Roman army of the Republic, sex among fellow soldiers violated the decorum against intercourse with citizens and was subject to harsh penalties, including death,[21] as a violation of military discipline.[22] The Greek historian Polybius (2nd century BC) lists deserters, thieves, perjurers, and "those who in youth have abused their persons" as subject to the fustuarium, clubbing to death.[23] Ancient sources are most concerned with the effects of sexual harassment by officers, but the young soldier who brought an accusation against his superior needed to show that he had not willingly taken the passive role or prostituted himself.[24] Soldiers were free to have relations with their male slaves;[25] the use of a fellow citizen-soldier's body was prohibited, not homosexual behaviors per se.[26] By the late Republic and throughout the Imperial period, there is increasing evidence that men whose lifestyle marked them as "homosexual" in the modern sense served openly.[27]

Although Roman law did not recognize marriage between men, and in general Romans regarded marriage as a heterosexual union with the primary purpose of producing children, in the early Imperial period some male couples were celebrating traditional marriage rites. Juvenal remarks with disapproval that his friends often attended such ceremonies.[28] The emperor Nero had two marriages to men, once as the bride (with a freedman Pythagoras) and once as the groom. His consort Sporus appeared in public as Nero's wife wearing the regalia that was customary for the Roman empress.[29]

Apart from measures to protect the prerogatives of citizens, the prosecution of homosexuality as a general crime began in the 3rd century of the Christian era when male prostitution was banned by Philip the Arab. By the end of the 4th century, after the Roman Empire had come under Christian rule, passive homosexuality was punishable by burning.[30] "Death by sword" was the punishment for a "man coupling like a woman" under the Theodosian Code.[31] Under Justinian, all same-sex acts, passive or active, no matter who the partners, were declared contrary to nature and punishable by death.[32]

Congo

E. E. Evans-Pritchard recorded that in the past male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on young male lovers between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in intercrural sex with their older husbands. The practice had died out by the early 20th century, after Europeans had gained control of African countries, but was recounted to Evans-Pritchard by the elders to whom he spoke.[33]

Feudal Japan

In feudal Japan, homosexuality was recognized, between equals (bi-do), in terms of pederasty (wakashudo), and in terms of prostitution. The younger partner in a pederastic relationship often was expected to make the first move; the opposite was true in ancient Greece. In religious circles, same-sex love spread to the warrior (samurai) class, where it was customary for a boy in the wakashū age category to undergo training in the martial arts by apprenticing to a more experienced adult man. The man was permitted, if the boy agreed, to take the boy as his lover until he came of age; this relationship, often formalized in a "brotherhood contract",[34] was expected to be exclusive, with both partners swearing to take no other (male) lovers. The Samurai period was one in which homosexuality was seen as particularly positive. Later when Japanese society became pacified, the middle classes adopted many of the practices of the warrior class.

Lesotho

Anthropologists Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe reported that women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned "long term, erotic relationships" called motsoalle.[35]

Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, same-sex relationships were an integral part of the culture until the middle of the last century. The Etoro and Marind-anim for example, even viewed heterosexuality as sinful and celebrated homosexuality instead. In many traditional Melanesian cultures a prepubertal boy would be paired with an older adolescent who would become his mentor and who would "inseminate" him (orally, anally, or topically, depending on the tribe) over a number of years in order for the younger to also reach puberty.[36]

LGBT-related laws by country or territory

Africa

Main article: LGBT rights in Africa
Tables:

Northern Africa

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Algeria Algeria
Egypt Egypt Not specifically outlawed
Libya Libya
Morocco Morocco
(incl. Western Sahara)
Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 3 years)
South Sudan South Sudan Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 10 years.)
Constitutional ban since 2011
Sudan Sudan Illegal
(Penalty: Corporal Punishment. Death penalty for men on third offense. Death penalty on fourth offense for women)
Tunisia Tunisia Illegal
(Penalty: Fine - 3 years)

Western Africa

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Benin Benin
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Legal Constitutional ban since 1991
Cape Verde Cape Verde Legal since 2004
+ UN decl. sign.
Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire Legal
The Gambia Gambia Illegal
(Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment)
No specific prohibition
Ghana Ghana Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 3 years imprisonment for consensual acts)
Female uncertain
Guinea Guinea Illegal
(Penalty: 6 months to 3 years imprisonment)
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau
+ UN decl. sign.
Liberia Liberia Illegal
(Penalty: 1 year imprisonment)
Mali Mali Legal
Mauritania Mauritania Illegal
(Penalty: Death penalty. However, no executions for any crime since 1987)
Niger Niger Legal
Nigeria Nigeria Illegal
(Penalty: Prison time, fines, corporal punishment, to death penalty)
Unclear in southern states
Senegal Senegal Illegal
(Penalty: 1 to 5 years imprisonment)
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone
+ UN decl. sign.
Togo Togo Illegal
(Penalty: Fine and/or a 3 year prison sentence)

Middle Africa

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Cameroon Cameroon Illegal
(Penalty: Fine to 5 years prison)
Central African Republic Central African Republic
+ UN decl. sign.
Chad Chad Legal since 1967
Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
(formerly Zaire)
Constitutional ban since 2005
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea
Gabon Gabon
+ UN decl. sign.
Republic of the Congo Republic of the Congo
Saint Helena Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Military of the United Kingdom) Equality Act 2010) Transsexuals can change legal sex since 2013
São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe

Eastern Africa

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Burundi Burundi Constitutional ban since 2005
Djibouti Djibouti
Eritrea Eritrea
Ethiopia Ethiopia
Kenya Kenya Female presumed to be illegal.
Rwanda Rwanda
+ UN decl. sign.
Constitutional ban in Article 26 since 2003
Somalia Somalia
Uganda Uganda Female Illegal since 2000. (Penalty: Up to 7 years imprisonment) Constitutional ban since 2005
Tanzania Tanzania A couple must be married to adopt a child jointly.

Indian Ocean States

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Comoros Comoros
(Penalty: 5 years imprisonment and/or fine)
Madagascar Madagascar Legal
Mauritius Mauritius
+ UN decl. sign.
Mayotte Mayotte
(Overseas department of France since 2011)
Legal since 1791 Civil solidarity pact Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans all anti-gay discrimination
Réunion Réunion
(Overseas department of France)
Legal since 1791 Civil solidarity pact
since 1999
Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans all anti-gay discrimination
Seychelles Seychelles Female legal
(decriminalisation proposed )
+ UN decl. sign.

Southern Africa

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Angola Angola
Botswana Botswana Illegal
(Penalty: Fine - 7 years, Though never enforced)
Lesotho Lesotho
Malawi Malawi Illegal
(Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment and/or whippings)
Mozambique Mozambique
Namibia Namibia
South Africa South Africa Male legal since 1998
(retroactive to 1994)
Female always legal
+ UN decl. sign.
Limited recognition of unregistered partnerships since 1998; marriage since 2006 Legal since 2006 Legal since 2002 (joint and step-parent) Since 1998 Bans all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, including hate speech Anti-discrimination laws are interpreted to include gender identity; legal gender may be changed after surgical or medical treatment
Swaziland Swaziland
Zambia Zambia Illegal
(Penalty: up to 14 years imprisonment)
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Constitutional ban since 2013

Partially recognised states

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Adoption by same-sex couples Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Western Sahara Western Sahara
(80% controlled by Morocco)
Illegal
(Penalty: up to 3 years prison)
Somaliland Somaliland Illegal
(Penalty: expulsion from country, prison - up to life, in various regions and districts; death penalty)



The Americas

Tables:

North America

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bermuda Bermuda
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 1994
(Age of consent discrepancy)
Canada Canada
+ UN decl. sign.
Nationwide since 2005 hate speech
Mexico Mexico
+ UN decl. sign.
France) Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Pacte civil de solidarité since 1999 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
United States United States Lawrence v. Texas .

(Legal in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin)

Varies by state, recognized by federal gov't.

(Legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and in the District of Columbia; recognized in Oregon)

Single gay persons may adopt, laws on couples vary by state Since 2011 Matthew Shepard Act Matthew Shepard Act

Central America

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti- discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Belize Belize Male llegal since 2003
(Penalty: 10 year prison sentence). Female legal.
Costa Rica Costa Rica Legal since 1971
+ UN decl. sign.
N/A Bans some anti-gay discrimination
El Salvador El Salvador
+ UN decl. sign.
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Guatemala Guatemala
+ UN decl. sign.
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Honduras Honduras
+ UN decl. sign.

(Constitutional ban)

(Constitutional ban)
Nicaragua Nicaragua Legal since 2008
+ UN decl. sign.
Panama Panama Legal since 2008
+ UN decl. sign.

Caribbean islands

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Anguilla Anguilla
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 2000
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Illegal
(Penalty: 15 year prison sentence)
Aruba Aruba
(Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Legal Netherlands recognised Netherlands recognised Netherlands responsible for defence
The Bahamas Bahamas Legal since 1991
(Age of consent discrepancy)
Barbados Barbados Illegal
(Penalty: life sentence, Not enforced)
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 2000 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Caribbean Netherlands
(part of the Netherlands)
Legal Legal since 2012 Netherlands responsible for defence
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 2000
Cuba Cuba Legal since 1979
+ UN decl. sign.

(but proposed)
Curaçao Curaçao
(Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Legal Netherlands recognised Netherlands recognised Netherlands responsible for defence
Dominica Dominica Illegal
(Penalty: 10 year prison sentence or incarceration in a psychiatric institution )
+ UN decl. sign.
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic
+ UN decl. sign.

(Constitutional ban)
Grenada Grenada Female legal
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe
(Overseas department of France)
Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Pacte civil de solidarité
since 1999
Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Haiti Haiti Legal since 1986
Jamaica Jamaica Female legal
Martinique Martinique
(Overseas department of France)
Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Pacte civil de solidarité
since 1999
Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Montserrat Montserrat
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 2000
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico
(Commonwealth of the United States)
Legal since 2003 Since 2011 Bans hate crimes since 2002, anti–employment discrimination since 2013. U.S. hate crime laws also apply Bans hate crimes since 2002, anti–employment discrimination since 2013. U.S. hate crime laws also apply
France since 2007) Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Pacte civil de solidarité since 1999 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis Female legal
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Female legal
France since 2007) Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Pacte civil de solidarité since 1999 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Illegal
(Penalty: fine and/or 10 year prison sentence)
Sint Maarten Sint Maarten
(Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Legal Netherlands recognised Netherlands recognised Netherlands responsible for defence
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Illegal
(Penalty: 25 year prison sentence, Not enforced)
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 2000
United States Virgin Islands United States Virgin Islands
(Insular area of the United States)
Legal since 1984 Since 2011 The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well

South America

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti- discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Argentina Argentina
+ UN decl. sign.
Unregistered cohabitation throughout the country. Legal since 2010.
Bolivia Bolivia Legal
+ UN decl. sign.
(Proposed)
(Constitutional ban)

(Constitutional ban)
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Brazil Brazil
+ UN decl. sign.
Chile Chile
(Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.
(Pending) since 2007
Colombia Colombia Legal since 1981
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2007 since 1999. Since 2009: the military special social security system can be used by same sex couples in the army Since 1993. The name's gender can be changed easily in the National ID Card, to change the sex field a surgery is required.
Ecuador Ecuador Legal since 1997
+ UN decl. sign.

(Constitutional ban)

(Constitutional ban)
Bans some anti-gay discrimination Bans all discrimination based on gender identity
Falkland Islands Falkland Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal Bans some anti-gay discrimination
French Guiana French Guiana
(Overseas department of France)
Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Pacte civil de solidarité since 1999 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Guyana Guyana Illegal
(Penalty: Up to life imprisonment)
Added to constitution in 2004, but withdrawn afterwards by the government.
Paraguay Paraguay
+ UN decl. sign.
Peru Peru Bans all anti-gay discrimination. Penalized with 2-4 years in jail. Possible via Civil Code and Legal Process, but no specific law.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
(Overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Suriname Suriname
Uruguay Uruguay Legal since 1934
+ UN decl. sign.

Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name since 2009.[95]

Venezuela Venezuela .
+ UN decl. sign.

(Constitutional ban)

(Constitutional ban)
Since 1999

Asia

Main article: LGBT rights in Asia
This table:

Central Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
Tajikistan Tajikistan
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan

Western Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Bahrain Bahrain
Iraq Iraq Legal since 2003
Israel Israel
+ UN decl. sign.
Unregistered cohabitation foreign same-sex marriages are recognised
Jordan Jordan Legal since 1951
Kuwait Kuwait
Lebanon Lebanon
In certain circumstances
Oman Oman Illegal
(Penalty: fines, prison sentence up to 3 years; however, only enforced when dealing with "public scandal")
Palestinian territories Palestinian territories
(Gaza)
Female legal
Palestinian territories Palestinian territories
(West Bank)
Qatar Qatar Female legal
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Illegal
(Penalty: death or life imprisonment)
Syria Syria Illegal
(Penalty: prison sentence up to 3 years; law de facto suspended)
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Illegal
(Penalty: deportation, fines or prison time)
Yemen Yemen Illegal
(Penalty: death)

South Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Afghanistan Afghanistan Illegal
(Penalty: Death penalty)
Bangladesh Bangladesh Illegal
(Penalty: 10 years to life)
Bhutan Bhutan Illegal
(Penalty: prison sentence up to 1 year; no cases of penalty actually enforced)
India India There are no laws to protect from discrimination.
Iran Iran Illegal
(Penalty: Death)
Legal gender recognition in Iran is legal if accompanied by a medical intervention.[107]
Maldives Maldives . Shariah law applies. Whippings, house arrest, deportation, and up to 6 years in jail. Vigilante attacks and executions occur.
Nepal Nepal
+ UN decl. sign.
Under consideration Under consideration Supreme Court ruled discrimination laws apply to homosexuals
Pakistan Pakistan Illegal
(Penalty: 2 years to life sentence)
Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2010
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka

East Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
China China
(People's Republic of)
Legal since 1997 Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Hong Kong Hong Kong
(Special administrative region of China)
Legal since 1991
(equal age of consent of 16 for both heterosexual and homosexual sex since 2006)

The People's Republic of China is in charge of Hong Kong's defence affairs. Regardless of sexual orientation, military personnel are not recruited from Hong Kong.
Japan Japan Legal since 1880
(was illegal from 1872-1880; before that there were no laws forbidding same sex relationships)
+ UN decl. sign.
sex reassignment surgery and in case that the transsexual has no child under 20 years old
Macau Macau
(Special administrative region of China)
Legal since 1996
The People's Republic of China is in charge of Macau's defence affairs. Regardless of sexual orientation, military personnel are not recruited from Macau.
Mongolia Mongolia Legal since 2002
North Korea North Korea Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle
South Korea South Korea Legal
+ UN decl. sign.
Due to conscription, but gays subject to discrimination Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender

Partially recognised states

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Taiwan Taiwan
(China, Republic of)
Legal (Pending law allows civil unions or same-sex marriage) Due to military draft Bans some anti-gay discrimination (in work and education) sex reassignment surgery

Southeast Asia

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (Sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Brunei Brunei Illegal
(Penalty: fine or prison sentence up to 10 years)
Burma Burma Illegal
(Penalty: up to life sentence)
Cambodia Cambodia Legal Technically prohibited, though there has been at least one recorded case of a legally registered and recognized same-sex marriage
East Timor East Timor Legal since 1975
+ UN decl. sign.
Indonesia Indonesia
Laos Laos Legal
Malaysia Malaysia Illegal
(Penalty: fines, prison sentence (2-20 years), or whippings)
Philippines Philippines Marawi City Since 2009 National bill pending but still not made into law
Singapore Singapore Male illegal
(Penalty: up to 2 years prison sentence; no plan to repeal 377A and not enforced since 1999)

Female legal

Due to conscription, but gays are not allowed to go to command school or serve in sensitive units. Transsexuals allowed to change legal gender
Thailand Thailand Legal since 1956 proposed on 2013 Since 2005 Since 1956
Vietnam Vietnam Legal
(no laws against homosexuality have ever existed)
(Proposed)

Europe

Main article: LGBT rights in Europe
Tables:

European Union

European Union member states are indicated with the EU flag in regional European sub-divisions.

See: LGBT rights in the European Union
European Union law forbids discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. All EU states are required to legalise homosexual activity and implement anti-discrimination laws.[118][119]

Central Europe

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
European UnionAustria Austria Legal since 1971
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2010 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionCroatia Croatia Legal since 1977
+ UN decl. sign.
Unregistered cohabitation since 2003 (civil unions proposed) Constitutional ban since 2013 Single gay persons may adopt Act on the elimination of discrimination, The Law on volunteering, Electronic media Law (all including both gender identity and gender expression)
European UnionCzech Republic Czech Republic Legal since 1962
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2006. A gay person alone may adopt (both when in registered partnership or single) Bans some anti-gay discrimination legal recognition granted and amendment of birth certificate after reassignment surgery/
European UnionGermany Germany East Germany)
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2001 proposed) Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionHungary Hungary Legal since 1962
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2009 Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Legal since 1989
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2011 N/A
European UnionPoland Poland Legal
Never punished (Legal until 18th century, criminalized in 19th by laws of Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary, legal again since 1932)
+ UN decl. sign.
Single gay persons may adopt Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionRomania Romania Legal since 1996
Previously legal from 1864 to 1968.
+ UN decl. sign.
Single gay persons may adopt.
European UnionSlovakia Slovakia Legal since 1962
+ UN decl. sign.
European UnionSlovenia Slovenia Legal since 1977
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2006 Bans all anti-gay discrimination
Switzerland Switzerland Ticino: since 1798
Nationwide since 1942)
+ UN decl. sign.
Registered partnership since 2007 Biological step-child adoption only. Bans some anti-gay discrimination .

Eastern Europe

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Armenia Armenia Legal since 2002
+ UN decl. sign.
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Legal since 2000
Belarus Belarus Legal since 1994 Constitutional ban since 1994.
Georgia (country) Georgia Legal since 2000
+ UN decl. sign.
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Russia Russia
(incl. all constituent regions)
Legal since 1993
Previously legal from 1917 to 1930.
Bans homosexual "propaganda"
Ukraine Ukraine Legal since 1991
+ UN decl. sign.
Constitution defines marriage as "a union of a man and a woman"

Northern Europe

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
European UnionDenmark Denmark Legal since 1933
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 1989. First country to legalise same-sex unions. Replaced in 2012 by gender neutral marriage law. Legal since 2012
European UnionEstonia Estonia Legal since 1992
+ UN decl. sign.
(proposed)
Faroe Islands Faroe Islands
(constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark)
Legal since 1933 (proposed) (proposed) (Denmark responsible for defence)
European UnionFinland Finland Legal since 1971
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2002 (under consideration) Step-child adoption only (full joint adoption under consideration)
Greenland Greenland
(constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark)
Denmark Legal since 1996 Step-child adoption only (Denmark responsible for defence) Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Iceland Iceland Legal since 1940
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 1996 Legal since 2010 Legal since 2006 N/A Documents can be amended to the recognised gender.
European UnionLatvia Latvia Legal since 1992
+ UN decl. sign.

Constitutional ban since 2006
An unmarried person may adopt child alone. Adoption by multiple persons that are not married banned. Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionLithuania Lithuania Legal since 1993
+ UN decl. sign.

Constitutional ban since 1992
Only married couples can adopt
Norway Norway Legal since 1972
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 1993 Legal since 2009 Legal since 2009 All documents can be amended to the recognised gender.
European UnionSweden Sweden Legal since 1944
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 1995 Legal since 2009 Legal since 2003

Southern Europe

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Albania Albania Legal since 1995
+ UN decl. sign.
Forbids discrimination based on gender identity.
Andorra Andorra Legal since 1791
(as part of France)
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2005 Legal since 2005 N/A
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina Legal since 1998
+ UN decl. sign.
Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionBulgaria Bulgaria Legal since 1968
+ UN decl. sign.
Constitution defines marriage as "a union of a man and a woman" Single gay persons may adopt. Bans all anti-gay discrimination
European UnionCyprus Cyprus Legal since 1998
+ UN decl. sign.
(proposed) Bans all anti-gay discrimination Forbids discrimination based on gender identity.
Gibraltar Gibraltar
(overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 1993 (proposed) UK responsible for defence Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionGreece Greece Legal since 1951
(Age of consent discrepancy)
+ UN decl. sign.
(proposed) Bans some anti-gay discrimination
European UnionItaly Italy Legal since 1890
+ UN decl. sign.
(proposed) Only married couples can adopt Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia Legal since 1996
+ UN decl. sign.
European UnionMalta Malta Legal since 1973
+ UN decl. sign.
(Civil union bill pending a vote by parliament) Single gay persons can adopt Bans some anti-gay discrimination All documents can be amended to the recognised gender.
Moldova Moldova Legal since 1995 Constitutional ban since 1994. Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Montenegro Montenegro Legal since 1977
+ UN decl. sign.
Constitutional ban since 2007. Forbids discrimination based on gender identity.
European UnionPortugal Portugal Legal since 1983
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2001 Legal since 2010 Since 2011, All documents can be amended to the recognised gender.
San Marino San Marino Legal since 2001
+ UN decl. sign.
(Only immigration right)
Serbia Serbia Legal since 1994
+ UN decl. sign.
Constitution defines marriage as "a union of a man and a woman"
European UnionSpain Spain Legal since 1979
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 1998 Legal since 2005 ).
Turkey Turkey Legal since 1858 (Constitutional protection is drafted, awaits to be enacted)
Vatican City Vatican City

Western Europe

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
European UnionBelgium Belgium Legal since 1793
(as part of France)
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2000 Legal since 2003 Legal since 2006 The 2007 law concerning transsexuality grants the right to a legal name and gender change
European UnionFrance France Legal since 1791
+ UN decl. sign.
Civil solidarity pact since 1999 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013
Guernsey Guernsey
(incl. Alderney Alderney, Herm Herm and Sark Sark)
(Crown dependency of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 1983 (proposed) UK responsible for defence
European UnionRepublic of Ireland Ireland Legal since 1993
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2011 (pending a scheduled referendum) Single gay persons may adopt. Step Child adoption under consideration. Legislation to recognise gender identity pending after High Court ruling in favour.
Isle of Man Isle of Man
(Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 1992
+ UN decl. sign
Legal since 2011 UK responsible for defence Bans all anti-gay discrimination
Jersey Jersey
(Crown dependency of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 1990 Legal since 2012 UK responsible for defence
European UnionLuxembourg Luxembourg Legal since 1795
(as part of France)
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 2004 (pending) Single gay persons may adopt (full joint adoption pending) Bans some anti-gay discrimination
Monaco Monaco Legal since 1793
(as part of France)
France responsible for defence
European UnionNetherlands Netherlands Legal since 1811
(as part of France)
+ UN decl. sign.
Legal since 1998 Legal since 2001. First country to legalise same-sex marriage.
European UnionUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Legal
in England and Wales since 1967
in Scotland since 1981
in Northern Ireland since 1982
+ UN decl. sign.
Civil partnership since 2005 Illegal
in Northern Ireland
Illegal
in Northern Ireland, pending judicial review
Gender Recognition Act 2004

Partially or unrecognised states

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Republic of Kosovo Kosovo Legal since 1970
(as part of Yugoslavia)
Neither the constitution nor family law contain an explicit ban. However, there hasn't been a request for a marriage license either.
Northern Cyprus TRNC
(recognised only by the Republic of Turkey)

Oceania

Tables:

Australasia

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Australia Australia
(including territories of
 Christmas Island,
 Cocos (Keeling) Islands and
 Norfolk Island)
Legal nationwide since 1994
+ UN decl. sign.
Unregistered cohabitation since 2009

Registered relationship schemes in ACT, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales

- Legal in the ACT (2013) - Marriage bills introduced and yet to be voted on in VIC; rejected in at least one house of parliament in SA, NSW and TAS. Western Australia.

Stepchild adoption in Victoria.

Since 1992
New Zealand New Zealand Legal since 1986

+ UN decl. sign.

Civil union since 2005. Since 1993 Bans all anti-gay discrimination Covered under the "sex discrimination" provision of the Human Rights Act 1993 since 2006.

Melanesia

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
East Timor East Timor
(terminology "Oceania" varies on border definitions)

+ UN decl. sign.
Fiji Fiji
+ UN decl. sign.
New Caledonia New Caledonia
(overseas collectivity of France)
Legal PACS since 2009 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 French responsibility
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands n/a
Vanuatu Vanuatu
+ UN decl. sign.

Micronesia

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Guam Guam
(unincorporated territory of the United States)
Legal since 1979 (proposed) Legal since 2002 US responsibility Bans all anti-gay discrimination, also US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well
Federated States of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia
+ UN decl. sign.
n/a
Kiribati Kiribati n/a
Marshall Islands Marshall Islands
+ UN decl. sign.
n/a
Nauru Nauru
(legalisation proposed)
+ UN decl. sign.
n/a
Northern Mariana Islands Northern Mariana Islands
(unincorporated territory of the United States)
Legal since 1983 US responsibility The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well
Palau Palau
+ UN decl. sign.
n/a

Polynesia

LGBT rights in: Homosexual acts legal? Recognition of same-sex relationships Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
American Samoa American Samoa
(unincorporated territory of the United States)[175]
Legal since 1899 US responsibility The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well The US hate crime laws also apply to all US external territories as well
Easter Island Easter Island
(overseas territory of Chile)
Legal since 1998 (Pending) (Pending) Chilean responsibility Since 2007
Cook Islands Cook Islands
(part of the Realm of New Zealand)
New Zealand's responsibility
French Polynesia French Polynesia
(overseas collectivity of France)
Legal Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 French responsibility
Hawaii Hawaii
(State of the United States United States)
Legal since 1972 (From December 2nd, 2013) Legal since 2012 Since 2011 Bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation Bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity/expression
Niue Niue
(part of the Realm of New Zealand)
New Zealand's responsibility
Pitcairn Islands Pitcairn Islands
(overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
Legal since 1967 UK responsibility
Samoa Samoa Illegal + UN decl. sign. N/A
Tokelau Tokelau
(part of the Realm of New Zealand)
New Zealand's responsibility
Tonga Tonga
Tuvalu Tuvalu
+ UN decl. sign.
N/A
Wallis and Futuna Wallis and Futuna
(overseas collectivity of France)
Legal PACS since 2009 Legal since 2013 Legal since 2013 French responsibility


See also

References

External links

  • International Lesbian and Gay Association
    • State-sponsored Homophobia report (2012 edition)
    • Lesbian and Gay Rights in the World map (2012 edition)
  • DMOZ
  • Amnesty International USA: LGBT legal status around the world — interactive map
  • GayLawNet: Laws — information by country
  • International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
    • Resource links — for researching legal information
  • Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Justice - A Comparative Law Casebook
  • Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, an annual report


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