//Gabon MPs vote to decriminalise homosexuality

Gabon MPs vote to decriminalise homosexuality

Lawmakers in Gabon’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday voted to decriminalise homosexuality, becoming one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to reverse a law that punishes sexual relations between people of the same sex.

Forty-eight members of parliament backed the proposed initiative by the government to revise an article of the 2019 law that criminalised homosexuality. Twenty-four voted against, while 25 others abstained.

“Forty-eight lawmakers have shaken an entire nation and its customs and traditions,” one member of parliament who voted against the revision, told Reuters.

Same-sex marriage is still not allowed in the central African state, where homosexuality is still broadly seen as a taboo.

Gabon is one of 73 countries or jurisdictions worldwide that criminalises sex between men, and sex between women, with punishments of up to six months imprisonment and a fine of 5 million FCFA, according to London-based rights group Human Dignity Trust.

(Agencies)