All the countries where homosexuality is illegal
Botswana just decriminalized gay sex
June is Pride Month, and internationally recognized as such in many countries around the world. But what’s seen as a time of celebration for many is also a reminder for others that LGBT people continue to be persecuted, including being seen as criminals in the eyes of governments the world over.
Indeed, while it’s true that over 25 countries around the world have legalized same-sex marriage and that about as many allow for joint adoption by same-sex couples, it’s also true that same-sex sexual activity is illegal in over 70 countries. And while some of these laws are simply on the books but aren’t actively enforced, in other countries punishments as extreme as the death penalty are carried out.
On that note, you’ll likely recall the controversy that ensued last April when the Sultan of Brunei announced that the country would be bringing in the death penalty, by stoning, for men who had sex with other men. But after the international outrage that followed, the Sultan extended a moratorium on the death penalty—a situation that is sure to be watched closely in the future.
Moreover, the issue of criminalizing same-sex sexual behavior was in the news again in late May, this after Kenya reaffirmed its commitment to colonial-era law banning same-sex relations. In upholding it, the country’s High Court ensured that anyone found engaging in same-sex sexual relations could face up to 14 years in prison.
That’s the reality of the situation in many parts of the world: anything from long prison sentences (including life sentences) to death, with fines and corporal punishment as extra add-ons. A country where the max penalty for such a crime is “only” one year is actually a bit of an anomaly. And then there are the countries that do not enforce these laws but won’t wipe them from their books either, and others that, in a mixed blessing of sorts, think so little of lesbian relationships that their laws only apply to men.
To the credit of a handful of these countries, several have legislation pending to rid their books of these laws. To discover which, and to read about those that are far from doing the same, click through this gallery detailing all the countries where homosexuality is illegal.