Gabon’s Senate has voted to decriminalise homosexuality
Under a 2019 law, Gabon was one of 73 countries or jurisdictions around the world, including more than two dozen in Africa, that criminalise sex between men and sex between women.
The move by the government to reverse part of the law barely a year after it was voted in, has sharply divided opinion and sparked intense debate on social media in the central African nation, where homosexuality is still broadly seen as a taboo.
The government did not explain why it decided to revise the law.
Nevertheless, the bill won the support of lawmakers in the lower house last week. While in the Senate, it “was adopted with a large majority of 59 votes”, Jessye Ella Ekogha, a spokesman for Gabon’s presidency, told Reuters. It will now be ratified by President Ali Bongo, he added.
Commenting, veteran LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell said, “
“This is a magnificent victory for LGBT+ people in Gabon and across Africa. It bucks the trend in many African nations, like Nigeria and Uganda, where the repression of LGBT+ communities has intensified in recent years.
“Coming on top of Angola’s decriminalisation last year, it will give hope to the many brave LGBT+ campaigners throughout Africa that they can eventually win.
“This still leaves 72 countries and jurisdictions where same-sex relations remain a crime, including 10 countries that have the death penalty for homosexuality.”