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Gay sex made legal in Northern Cyprus and now all over Europe

Europe joins North America and Australia as the only continents with no laws criminalizing gay sex

Northern Cyprus has decriminalized gay sex, 16 years after its southern state.

The move by Northern Cyprus lawmakers means Europe is now the third continent in the world with no laws criminalizing gay sex.

Jonathan Cooper, Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust, said in a statement: 'This is a historic day for gay people in Europe and a major victory for human rights, equality and the Human Dignity Trust.

'Our case before the European Court required the law to be changed. Nowhere in Europe now still criminalizes gay people and we are proud to say that we have played a significant role in bringing this shameful chapter in European history to an end.

'Laws against private, consenting homosexual acts between adults criminalize someone’s very identity and have no place in the modern world. These pernicious anti-gay laws, which protect no one and cause deep distress and harm to gay and lesbian people, still exist in 82 legal jurisdictions. But that is one fewer than yesterday, and this we must celebrate.'

Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of Europe’s International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) executive Board, said: ‘We welcome today’s vote and can finally call Europe a continent completely free from laws criminalising homosexuality. In 1981, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in its historic judgment in Dudgeon v UK case that such laws are in breach of the European Human Rights Convention and must be abolished.

'It took Europe 33 years to completely free the continent from these unjust and discriminatory laws.’

While the southern part of Cyprus decriminalized gay sex in 1998, Northern Cyprus previously punished violators with up to five years in prison. Same-sex relations between women were exempt from the law.

The southern part of the island is under the control of the Republic of Cyprus, while Northern Cyprus is currently separate and only recognized by Turkey, not by the rest of the international community.

In October 2013, the Republic of Cyprus took on discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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