The tiny country of Bhutan moves to decriminalise homosexuality

Bhutan has begun the process of removing its laws criminalising homosexuality.

The Buddhist kingdom’s lower house voted on Friday to remove two sections of its penal code which outlaw “unnatural sex,” defined as “sodomy or any other sexual conduct that is against the order of nature.”

The bill will now move to the country’s upper house for additional debate.

While the law that calls for homosexuals to be imprisoned has not been used for man years, politicians say it has become a human rights blight on their reputation.

Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Tshering first suggested the changes on May 29 before putting in a formal proposal.

Lyonpo told local media that the anti-LGBT legislation “has become so redundant.”

As the laws passed the lower house he commented, “It is also an eyesore for international human rights bodies.”

The move to decriminalise homosexuality follows a similar decision in neighbouring India last year. Unlike many of the countries in Asia that have laws against homosexuality, Bhutan has never been colonised.

In recent years Bhutan has become more open to accepting homosexuality and in 2016 International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia was marked for the first time.

OIP Staff