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Angola has finally voted to make gay sex legal

Angola has finally voted to make gay sex legal

  • The new law will come into effect in February next year and will also protect against discrimination.
Members of Iris Angola LGBT+ group.

Gay sex will be legal in Angola from February 2020 after the country’s National Assembly gave final approval to its new Penal Code.

Lawmakers in the southwestern African country voted in January 2019 to drop a ‘vices against nature’ law that the authorities historically used to prosecute gay sex.

But it has taken until now for the parliament to give final approval to the new Penal Code which replaces one from 1886.

Meanwhile the code also significantly expands its discrimination protections – to include sexual orientation.

It now includes ‘race, color, ethnicity, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, illness or physical disability or psychic, belief or religion, political or ideological convictions, condition or social origin or any other forms of discrimination’.

‘Genuinely Angolan’

The law against gay sex dates from Angola’s period as a Portuguese colony.

Lawmakers said the changes they have made mean the new Penal Code is ‘genuinely Angolan’ for the first time.

And Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Francisco Queiroz, adds it also ‘is aligned with the most modern solutions at the international level’.

Queiroz added: ‘This is an act of sovereignty by the Angolan State which, after 134 years of being governed in the criminal and criminal fields, with a code that has been in force since 1886, from the colonial administration, now has the Penal Code totally inspired by political reality, legal, cultural and social Angolan.

‘Therefore it is an aspect that must be underlined, this one of the consolidation of the national sovereignty.’

Despite Angola’s changes, 72 countries continue to criminalize consensual gay sex. The vast majority of them inherited their anti-gay laws from colonial masters – particularly the British empire.

Moreover at least six countries have the death penalty for homosexuality – Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. Meanwhile the death penalty is also a legal possibility in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and UAE.

And even in countries without specific ‘sodomy’ or ‘sex against nature’ laws, authorities often target LGBT+ people. They frequently use laws against ‘hooliganism’, ‘pornography’ and public order offenses to persecute LGBT+ citizens.