Gabon’s parliamentarians spoke out Tuesday night against the criminalization of homosexuality in the country. About 48 MEPs voted for decriminalization, 24 against and 25 against.
The gay cause is gaining ground in Africa. In Gabon, deputies voted Tuesday, June 23, to decriminalize homosexual relations and aborted a change in the Penal Code voted a year earlier condemning homosexuality as an “attack on morality.”
Unlike many sub-Saharan African countries, which prohibit or punish homosexual intercourse, no Gabon law explicitly mentioned homosexuality before an amendment to the Penal Code was passed by the Senate in July 2019, which prohibited “same-sex sexual intercourse” .
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On Tuesday night, the National Assembly passed a change in the penal code that erases this point, reported Gabon’s press titles on Wednesday. The information was confirmed to AFP by a source close to the National Assembly. Some “48 deputies voted for decriminalization, 24 against and 25 abstained,” the source said.
Six months in prison and 7 years in prison600 euros
This bill was led by the Gabonese Prime Minister, Julien Nkoghe Bekale, present during the debates. Since July 2019, same-sex relationships were punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of 5 million CFA francs (7,600 euros).
If the homosexual criminalization had been voted on by the Senate in mid-summer, during a shutdown of the National Assembly, and had gone relatively unnoticed in the national media, the decriminalization voted on Tuesday made a lot of noise in the press online and on social media Wednesday morning.
In sub-Saharan Africa, homosexuality is widely criminalized, with more than half of its countries prohibiting or punishing homosexual intercourse, sometimes the death penalty.