Bhutan Passes Historic Bill to Decriminalise Homosexuality

63 of 69 members of both houses voted in favour of scrapping the law that criminalised homosexuality.

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Bhutan Passes Historic Bill to Decriminalise Homosexuality

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A joint sitting of the two houses of Bhutan’s parliament on Thursday, 10 December, passed a bill to decriminalise homosexuality, reported Reuters, making the Himalayan kingdom the latest Asian country to remove legal restrictions on same-sex relationships.

According to the report, Sections 213 and 214 of their penal code criminalised "unnatural sex".

63 of the total 69 members of both houses of the parliament had voted in favour of scrapping the provision, while six members were reportedly absent.

“Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now,” Lawmaker Ugyen Wangdi told Reuters by phone from the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, without giving details.

However, the changes will have to be approved by the King of Bhutan to become a law.

While India decriminalised homosexuality in 2018, a wide-ranging debate on allowing same-sex marriage is beginning to gain steam with multiple pleas in various high courts of the country.

Homosexuality is still criminal in many Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. However, Taiwan is the only Asian country where same-sex marriage is recognised.

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Topics:  LGBTQIA Rights 

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