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Gabon senate votes in favour of pro-gay law

Gabon

<h2 style="font-size:16px;"> June 30: Senate votes to decriminalise homosexuality </h2> <p>Gabon’s upper parliamentary chamber, the senate, has voted in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, a week after the lower house strongly voted in that direction.</p> <p>The ball is now in the court of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose ratification will make the bill law in the central African country. Gabon will join a handful of African countries to legally allow homosexuality.</p> <p>The legislation has not gone down well with a core section of the largely religious Gabonese society with reports indicating that prominent politicians, religious leaders and a cross section of the public have denounced the legislation, describing it as a change designed to appease foreign donors.</p> <p>The bill if assented to by the president will expunge a 2019 law that criminalised homosexuality, stipulating a six months jail term and sizeable fine for gay sex. </p> <p>Activists and pro-gay rights group are celebrating the move as key steps in seeking that African governments respect the rights of same-sex couples. </p> <p>Reports by such groups in other African countries have routinely alleged that the <span class="caps">LGBT</span> community have been forced underground due to harassment from anti-gay elements in their societies and actions of law enforcement.</p> <p>Gabon’s legislative arm of government is bicameral in nature. The Senate consists of 91 seats elected for six-year terms by members of municipal councils and departmental (or divisional) assemblies. </p> <p>The National Assembly consists of 120 seats. Members are elected for a five-year term by direct popular vote. The legislative branch shares the right to initiate new laws with the executive. </p> <style>.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }</style><div class='embed-container'><iframe src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/HtcsOpMbDXA' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen></iframe></div> <h2 style="font-size:16px;"> June 24: Gabon MPs vote to decriminalise homosexuality </h2> <p><strong>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.</strong></p> <p>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.</p> <p>“Forty-eight lawmakers have shaken an entire nation and its customs and traditions,” one member of parliament who voted against the revision, told Reuters.</p> <p>Same-sex marriage is still not allowed in the central African state, where homosexuality is still broadly seen as a taboo.</p> <p>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 <acronym title="$8,715"><span class="caps">FCFA</span></acronym>, according to London-based rights group Human Dignity Trust. </p> <p><strong><em>Agencies</em></strong></p>

Forty-eight lawmakers have shaken an entire nation and its customs and traditions.

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