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Bhutan Passes Bill To Decriminalise Homosexuality

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On Thursday, 10 December, a joint sitting of the two houses of Bhutan’s parliament passed a bill to decriminalise homosexuality the Reuters reported. This step has made it the latest Asian country to remove legal restrictions on same-sex relationships.

As per the report, Sections 213 and 214 of the country’s penal code criminalised “unnatural sex”.

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Of the total 69 members of both houses of the parliament, 63 voted in favour of scrapping the provision. Six members were reportedly absent from the meeting.

Lawmaker Ugyen Wangdi told ReutersHomosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now”. He did not give any further details.

The King of Bhutan will have to approve the changes to become a law.

Homosexuality is still criminal in many Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. However, Taiwan is the only Asian country where same-sex marriage is recognised.

The United Nations has asked nations to throw out anti-LGBT+ laws. It says that the laws legitimise discrimination against LGBT+ people, expose them to hate crimes, police abuse, torture and family violence.

India decriminalised homosexuality in 2018. However, there is still a debate on same-sex marriages.

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The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in the year 2000. Four couples married in the world’s first same-sex wedding in 2001.

Some Countries Around The Globe Where Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal

  1. Costa Rica: It became the first country in Central America to recognise same-sex marriages after a landmark ruling from the country’s Supreme Court. The ruling went into effect from May 26, 2020.
  2. Northern Ireland: In October 2019, UK Parliament passed legislation to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The law went into action on January, 13, 2020. It made same-sex marriage legal in the entire United Kingdom.
  3. Ecuador: It has become the 5th Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The decision was approved on June 12, 2019.
  4. Taiwan: In 2019, Taiwan created history by becoming the first Asian country to allow same-sex marriages between gay and lesbian couples.
  5. Austria: On January 1, 2019, Austria legalised same-sex marriage. However, in 2010, the country  had allowed gay and lesbian couples to enter into a civil partnership.

Shivangi Thapa is an intern with SheThePeople.TV