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Homosexuality: The countries where it is illegal to be gay.

Published31 March 2023

US Vice President Kamala Harris who is on a tour of three African countries - Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia - has drawn criticism over her support for LGBTQ rights.

In Ghana, in a speech calling for "all people be treated equally" she appeared to criticise a bill before the country's parliament which criminalises advocacy for gay rights and proposes jail terms for those that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The country's Speaker Alban Bagbin later called her remarks "undemocratic" and urged lawmakers not to be "intimidated by any person".

In Tanzania, a former minister spoke against US support for LGBTQ rights ahead of the visit and in Zambia some opposition politicians have threatened to hold protests.

Where is homosexuality still outlawed?

There are 64 countries that have laws that criminalise homosexuality, and nearly half of these are in Africa.

Some countries, including several in Africa, have recently moved to decriminalise same-sex unions and improve rights for LGBTQ people.

In December 2022, Singapore's parliament repealed a controversial law which banned sex between men.

In the same month, the high court in Barbados struck out laws that criminalised gay sex.

In July last year, the courts in Antigua and Barbuda declared a law criminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults unconstitutional.

In February 2021, Angola's President Joao Lourenco signed into law a revised penal code to allow same-sex relationships and ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In 2020, Gabon reversed a law that had criminalised homosexuality and made gay sex punishable with six months in prison and a large fine.

Botswana's High Court also ruled in favour of decriminalising homosexuality in 2019. Mozambique and the Seychelles have also scrapped anti-homosexuality laws in recent years.

But there are countries where existing laws outlawing homosexuality have been tightened, including Nigeria and Uganda.

Uganda's parliament recently passed a law to crack down on homosexual activities, prompting widespread condemnation.

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