Bhutan parliament decriminalises homosexuality, to delight of activists

Bhutan parliament decriminalises homosexuality, to delight of activists

Kathmandu, December 10

A joint sitting of each homes of Bhutan’s parliament authorized a Bill on Thursday to legalize homosexual intercourse, making the tiny Himalayan kingdom the most recent Asian nation to take steps in direction of easing restrictions on same-sex relationships.

Sections 213 and 214 of the penal code had criminalized “unnatural sex”, extensively interpreted as homosexuality.

Lawmaker Ugyen Wangdi, the vice chairperson of a joint panel contemplating the modifications, mentioned 63 of the whole 69 members of each homes of parliament had voted in favour of amending the code to scrap the availability. Six members have been absent.

“Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now,” Wangdi instructed Reuters by cellphone from the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, with out giving particulars.

The modifications nonetheless must be authorized by the King of Bhutan to turn into a regulation.

Rights activist Tashi Tsheten mentioned he was “thrilled and really happy” over the parliamentary transfer, calling it a “victory” for the LGBT+ neighborhood.

“I think the Bill being passed on Human Rights Day itself is a momentous day for everyone in Bhutan,” Tsheten, the director of LGBT+ group, Rainbow Bhutan, instructed Reuters.

“I believe everyone who has stood up for the LGBT+ community in Bhutan is going to celebrate today as this is our victory”.

The transfer by the majority-Buddhist nation of 800,000 individuals comes after different Asian nations relaxed restrictions on the rights of the LGBT+ individuals.

Neighbouring India eliminated a centuries-old colonial prohibition on homosexual intercourse in 2018, triggering celebration throughout the nation.

In Nepal, authorities will rely LGBT+ individuals for the primary time within the nationwide census subsequent 12 months to assist sexual minorities achieve higher entry to schooling and well being schemes.

Bhutan is known for its “gross national happiness” index as an alternative choice to gross home product to point actual financial progress or growth. — Reuters