HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD AUSTRALIA CANADA UNITED KINGDOM UNITED STATES The politition links below will take you to other web sites. They are not part of the Gay Rights Info web site, you will need to use your browser back button to return to this page. These links will take you to the most informative sites I could find on each of these people. Some of the links will not have much information, but they will serve to let you know that the member is still in office.
AFGHANISTAN LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, the punishment is execution, the methods are throwing the homosexual down from a high roof or hill or by burying them beside a wall which is then toppled on to them. ALBANIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males, and 14 for lesbians and heterosexuals. ALGERIA LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable with up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine between 1,000 and 10,000 Algerian dinars. ANDORRA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. ANGOLA LAWS: 1. Homosexual acts are illegal, described as offenses against public morality. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males, and 16 for lesbians and heterosexuals. ARGENTINA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. The city of Buenos Aires, and the town of Rosario have gay rights laws that bans some anti-gay discrimination. 3. Extends widow/widower pensions to surviving partners of same-sex couples. 4. The city of Buenos Aires allows same-sex couples to receive health insurance and pension rights given to married spouses. The law, however, does not grant legal status to same-sex marriages. The law also does not give gay couples the right to adopt children or receive inheritances. 5. The city of Buenos Aires and Río Negro province legally recognize civil unions between people of the same sex. Couples are able to share social security services, claim leave when a partner is sick, and enter into agreements--such as buying a house--as if they were married. However, these so-called "Civil Union" laws do not permit same sex marriages or child adoption. Nor do they establish inheritance rights unless a prior agreement has been formalized. NOTE: 1. Four Argentine labor unions have now extended National Security System medical benefits to employees’ same-sex partners. The unions and the system operate jointly in the health-care arena. The benefits are available to members of the unions for teachers, commerce employees, executives and air-transport personnel. ARMENIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. ARUBA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. Homosexual contacts with minors under the age of 16 is punishable with a penalty of up to 4 years imprisonment. Heterosexual contacts with minors under the age of 16 are only criminal under certain conditions. COURT:1. On 8-23-05 a court ruled that a lesbian couple has the right to register their marriage in Aruba, rejecting a government appeal in a case that has exposed a cultural rift between Holland and its former colony. Aruba's Superior Court confirmed a lower court's December ruling that the Caribbean island should register the marriage of Charlene and Esther Oduber-Lamers, who were wed in Holland in 2001. "The Dutch marriage can be inscribed in the register," read the decision. "Since Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it must comply with demands of the Kingdom." The Aruban government has three months to take the case to Holland's Supreme Court, which it has promised to do. The women sued Aruba's government for discrimination last year after the Public Registry rejected their marriage certificate. The government argued the civil code did not allow for same-sex marriage and that it would go against Aruba's way of life. Not having their marriage recognized meant Esther could not get health benefits from Charlene's job at the Aruban Department of Social Affairs or stay on the island for more than six months a year under Aruban immigration laws. Charlene, a 33-year-old Aruba native, and Esther, a 38-year-old Dutch citizen, fled the island for Holland in November after being harassed when they tried to register as a married couple. Aruba, which lies off the northern coast of Venezuela, is an autonomous republic that forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch statutes require that all members of the Kingdom - Aruba, Holland and the Dutch Antilles - recognize each other's legal documents, including marriage certificates. Holland legalized gay marriage in 2001, but Aruban officials argue that Dutch law also grants the island the right to self-rule - permitting it to ignore Holland's legalization of gay marriage. AUSTRIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. "Same Sex Lewdness" with persons under 18 Years: a man over 19 years of age who engages in same-sex lewdness with a person who has attained the age of 14 but not yet the age of 18 years can be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military, however while gay conscripts are welcome for the compulsory service, openly gay people have no chance of embarking on a professional career in the army. 3. The 1992 Reproductive Medicine Act explicitly excludes lesbians and all single women from the benefit of artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilisation methods, those are restricted to married women or women in long-term heterosexual partnerships only. 4. The city of Bludenz, has a non-discrimination "declaration" which includes "sexual orientation". 5. The 1993 Police Security Act, requires the police to refrain from any actions that could create the impression of bias or could be perceived as discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. COURT:1. Austria's Constitutional Court in July 2002 ruled unconstitutional a law allowing prison sentences for men having gay sex with men younger than 18. The court said that making sex between two men over the age of 14 illegal was discriminatory. Austria has the strictest rules governing gay sex in the European Union. The Constitutional Court gave legislators until Feb. 28, 2003, to revise the law. AZERBAIJAN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, for private non-commercial acts of intercourse between consenting adult males. Forcible sodomy is a crime under Article 150. Lesbian sex is not mentioned in the law. BAHAMAS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws for sex in private, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexuals and 16 for heterosexuals. There is a law against sex in public, punishable with up to 20 years in prison. The public sex law clearly discriminates against homosexuals as it does not apply to heterosexuals who are found engaging in sexual activity in a public place. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. BAHRAIN LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, with or without corporal punishment. BANGLADESH LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with deportation, fines, and/or up to 10 years to life imprisonment. BARBADOS LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal. BELARUS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for males, and between 14 and 18 for females, depending on their sexual maturity. Sexual activity with a person under 18 is punished with prison term of up to 8 years. 2. In the Army, untraditional relationship between men are considered contrary to military requirements and laws, and are severely prosecuted. NOTE: 1. Gay life in Belarus is still largely underground, and most Belarussians consider homosexuality a disease. The country's only gay club, Oscar, was closed by the government in February 2000 because police said it "gathers abnormal people," although some mainstream clubs reportedly hold specific gay nights. BELGIUM LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. 3. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 4. Has a Statutory Cohabitation Contract. The contract is available to any two adults who are not otherwise married or contracted, regardless of their gender or blood relationship; it is signed before a notary public and entered into the register of the town where they live. The contract's main advantage appears to be access to the courts in event of a property dispute upon dissolution; its main responsibility is joint liability for living expenses, proportionate to the means of the partners. Absent proof of individual title, all assets acquired during the term of the contract are considered to be jointly owned. However, it specifically notes that the couples are treated as separate individuals with respect to submitting income tax returns, rate of taxation, inheritance, parental status with respect to children, adoption, fertility services, social security and pension rights, and immigration. 5. Gives homosexual couples almost the same nuptial rights that straight couples enjoy. This gives married homosexuals more rights than cohabiting same-sex couples and almost identical rights to those enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. Married homosexuals have inheritance rights to the goods and property of their deceased partner and receive the same fiscal breaks as heterosexual couples. However, unlike same-sex couples in the Netherlands--which became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001-- Belgian homosexual couples will not be allowed to adopt children, nor will the lesbian partner of a mother be considered the parent of the child. Same-sex couples from other nations can get married in Belgium as long as one of the individuals lives there or visits regularly. BELIZE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. BENIN LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. BHUTAN LAWS: 1. Male homosexual sex is forbidden by law, punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison. BOLIVIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 17. Sexual activity with someone under 17 is punishable with up to five years imprisonment. NOTE: 1. Bolivian police officers are extremely anti-homosexual. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA LAWS: 1. Republika Srpska is the only remaining Federation with a sodomy law, punishing male homosexual activity with a penalty of up to 1 year imprisonment. The remainder of the nation has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. BOTSWANA LAWS: 1. Male homosexual conduct is illegal punishable with up to 7 years imprisonment. BRAZIL LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws for non-military citizens, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all, military personnel who engage in gay sex can be sentenced to from six months to one year in prison. 2. The Brasilia federal capital district, the states of Bahia, Sergipe, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro and the cities of Salvador and Sao Paoloban ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. There are more than 80 other cities and towns that also ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the state of Rio de Janeiro the law imposes stiff fines against persons or institutions found guilty of anti-homosexual discrimination. Officials have been given the power to close hotels, restaurants and nightclubs that repeatedly deny their services to homosexuals. In the state of Santa Catarina businesses that discriminate against homosexuals, bisexuals or the transgendered are fined. Under the law a first offense will bring a warning, but any subsequent action will be heavily fined. Penalties range from $300 for a second offence to $1000 for a third conviction—a considerable sum in Brazil. In the case of further incidences, the offender will face the permanent seizure of his operating license. 3. Allows homosexual couples the right to inherit each other's pension and social security benefits. Homosexual Brazilians who can prove that theirs is a "stable union" will be treated by the National Social Security Institute no differently than a married couple in cases of retirement or death. The policy also allows people in same-sex relationships to declare their partners as dependents on income tax returns. The National Social Security Institute's policy change is the result of a recent court ruling. 4. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 5. The state of Rio Grande do Sul has a civil union registry. Same-sex couples in committed relationships can register at any notary public office. Although it does not affect federal rights, it gives same-sex couples more equality in many areas. Same-sex couples who register have the right to jointly own property, establish custody of children, and claim the right to pensions and property when one partner dies. 6. The state of Rio de Janeiro gives same-sex partner benefits to government employees. NOTE: 1. Rosinha Matheus, Governor of Rio de Janeiro and Edino Fonseca, Rio de Janeiro state legislator, are anti-gay. COURT:1. A court in Brazil has called for public social security benefits to be paid to gays and lesbians whose same-gender partners die or are imprisoned, according to the AgIncia Estado news service. Prosecutors of the Federal Public Ministry for the state of Rio Grande do Sul filed a public petition to a Federal Court to order the National Social Security Institute to recognize gay and lesbian couples, citing Article 5 of the national constitution, which prohibits all forms of discrimination. The court's federal jurisdiction means that the order will extend to the entire country, not just the state. 2. In January, 2002 a judge ordered that the lesbian partner of the late rock star Cassia Eller be given temporary custody of Eller's son. The Reuters news agency reports Eugenia Vieira, Eller's partner of 14 years, received six-month custody of 8-year-old Francisco Ribeiro Eller, nicknamed Chicao, on Tuesday from a court in Rio de Janeiro. Eller died in December. Significantly, the ruling also gave Vieira the right to inherit the recording artist's wealth and copyrights. Eller's family had no objections. "It's the first case in Brazil that a female partner of a mother gets the custody. It's still temporary, but very reassuring, "Vieira's lawyer told Reuters. Chicao was fathered by Tavinho Fialho, a friend and fellow musician of Eller's who died in a car crash before the boy's birth. Barros said Chicao has spent probably most of his time with Vieira, whom he calls "Mommy." Rights activists from the Bahia Gay Group, Brazil's oldest gay civil rights group, said the court decision was a victory for the community, saying it could speed approval of a long-awaited bill legalizing same-sex unions through Congress. 3. The Supreme Court on February 14, 2003 said homosexuals have the right to receive their partners' social security benefits and pensions after their partners die. Supreme Court President Marco Aurelio Mello upheld an earlier decision by a federal judge in the southern Rio Grande do Sul state that extended pension rights for heterosexual spouses to homosexual ones. Since the June 2000 court ruling, several dozen homosexuals have received pensions after their partners died who paid into Brazil's National Institute of Social Security. But the agency office in many cases refused to give benefits to homosexual partners and the institute appealed the Rio Grande do Sul decision. Aurelio said Brazil's constitution made no distinction of sexual orientation when granting the right to a pension after the death of one's spouse. 4. November 2003, in an unprecedented ruling a Brazilian judge overturned a deportation order against a British gay man saying his domestic partnership with a Brazilian was tantamount to marriage. David Ian Harrad and his partner, Toni Reis, have been together since 1990, first in Britain, and then since 1996 in a small town near Sao Paulo. Reis, a Brazilian gay activist, and Harrad became one of the first couples to enter into a civil union when they became legal in Sao Paulo. But, Harrad always lived under the threat of deportation. The couple sought the injunction on the grounds that their union qualified in Brazil as a common-law marriage. In granting the petition, Federal Judge Ana Morozowski wrote: "Although they are of the same sex, the authors of the petition live in a state of matrimony, a fact which extends, to Mr. Harrad, the right of permanent residence." Morozowski wrote that the basis of her decision was a provision in the 1988 Brazilian Constitution "prohibiting any form of discrimination, including discrimination as to sexual preference." The judgment will allow Harrad to remain in the country and to seek employment, something he was not permitted to do as a tourist. 5. March 2004, a judge in southern Brazil has allowed same-sex unions to be officially registered in a groundbreaking ruling that gay activists hailed as a model for the rest of the country. "Basically, it's like a civil marriage that gives more chances to gay couples in adoption, pensions and such things," said Fernando Coits of the Nuance gay rights group in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state. The judge's decision allows unions to be registered in any notary public office in Rio Grande do Sul. "This will serve for various things in day-to-day life like health insurance for partners to bigger things like giving an example to other states and the federal government," Coits told Reuters. Brazil, the world's biggest Roman Catholic country, does not give same-sex partners the same rights as it does to traditionally married couples. But it is becoming more liberal toward its vast gay community. 6. In July 2004, a Sao Paulo state court ordered 15 health insurance companies to recognize same-sex couples in their coverage. 7. In February/March 2005 a judge in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, which registers same-sex civil unions, granted a divorce to a formerly unioned couple. Government prosecutors had argued against allowing the divorce saying it would imply there had been a marriage. But Family and Inheritance Court Judge Roberto Arriada Lorea declared that "to assign a differential treatment to homosexuals would be disrespectful to the principle of equality." "It would be absurd to accept that the judicial power closes its eyes not only to changes that are taking place in our society, but also to the federal Constitution that rules our nation," he said. "In the absence of explicit legislation, there is no reason to unfairly judge what happens in ‘social minorities’ that are already heavily discriminated against." 8. In July 2005, a judge in Sao Paulo ruled that there is no valid reason for denying a same-sex couple the right to adopt children. It is believed this case is the first in Brazil where a gay couple has been allowed to jointly adopt a child. Vasco Pereira da Gama, 33, and Dorival Pereira de Carvalho, 41, have been fighting for the right adopt for five months. The couple has been together for 13 years and owns a model agency and beauty salon according to Radio Brazil. The men met with a psychologist, social assistants and a public prosecutor before going to court. In his ruling, Judge Julio Cesar Spoladore Domingos cited a policy statement by the Psychology Council which declared that "homosexuality was not a disease, a disturbance or a perversion." The couple's lawyer, Everaldo Galvao, said that although gays have been allowed to adopt in the past it is the first time a court has permitted a couple to adopt and become joint parents. Gama and Carvalho told Brazil Radio they want to adopt a little girl between the ages of two and four. BRUNEI LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, with a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of up to 30.000 Brunei dollars. BULGARIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexuals and 14 for heterosexuals. The Bulgarian Penal Code prohibits "scandalous homosexuality", homosexuality in public, and activities which may "lead to perversion" (whatever that is supposed to mean), violation of these laws can be punished with 1-5 years imprisonment and/or "social disgrace". 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. COURT:1. The Supreme Court (Superior Tribunal of Justice) ruled unanimously to allow a gay man to inherit half the estate of his deceased long-time partner. BURKINA FASO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 21 for homosexuals, and 13 for heterosexuals. Homosexual activity with someone under 21 is punishable with up to 3 years imprisonment. BURMA (MYANMAR) LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. BURUNDI LAWS: 1. Homosexuality is punishable as an "immoral act". CAMBODIA (KAMPUCHEA) LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. Sex with those 14 years or younger is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. CAMEROON LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with a penalty of 6 months to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to CFA 200.000. If one of the persons involved is under the age of 21 the penalty is doubled. CAPE VERDE LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishment is a bail, surety for good behavior or freedom under supervision together with a 100% augmented bail for a second offence. Repeat offenders can be imprisoned. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. CHAD LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. CHILE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexuals, but the age is lower for heterosexuals. COURT:1. On 5-31-04 the Supreme Court repealed a decision to grant a lesbian mother full custody of her children, claiming her sexuality would have a damaging impact on their lives. Karen Atala had been awarded custody of her three children by a lower appeals court, before her former husband appealed again and pushed the case to the country's highest court. In the 3-2 decision, the judges presiding over the case granted custody to the father, maintaining that Atala's lesbian relationships disqualified her from any custody rights. The panel of judges opposed to the custody order said the children could be emotionally and sexually stunted by the "replacement [of a father figure] by another person of the female gender." They also claimed that the children would be subjected to rejection because their family unit was "significantly different" to the norm. 2. On 5-12-05 the Supreme Court refused for the second time to give lesbian Karen Atala’s three children back to her. After the first ruling, Atala appealed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The commission accepted the case and instructed Chile’s government to justify the decision. The Supreme Court then reaffirmed its ruling, saying due process had been followed, and sent the affirmation to the government so it can reply to the commission. CHINA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. 2. Removed homosexuality from its official register of psychiatric disorders on 4-20-01. The third edition of the Chinese Standards for Classification and Diagnosis of Mental Disorders formally struck homosexuality from its list of diseases, although same-sex desires remains listed as a source of mental distress for those unhappy with their orientation. NOTE: 1. Prejudice against homosexuals is very strong in China and the number of open homosexuals is tiny. Communist puritanism means that almost all young couples marry before living together, and powerful Confucian traditions state that the worst "unfilial act" is failing to have a son to carry on the family line. COLOMBIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. COURT:1. The Constitutional Court ordered the military and police to lift the ban on homosexuals. 2. The Constitutional Court ruled that school teachers can not be fired for revealing their homosexuality, this overturned a 1979 law which made a teacher`s homosexuality grounds for dismissal. 3. The Constitutional Court ruled that private religious schools cannot ban homosexual students. 4. The Constitutional Court on 10-12-01 ordered prison authorities to make the necessary accommodations to allow gay prisoners to have conjugal visits. "An intimate visit for people in custody is not limited to heterosexual couples," the court wrote in its ruling. The ruling came as the result of a lawsuit filed by a female prisoner serving a 17-year sentence in the Pereira prison, 175 miles west of Bogota. The prisoner’s partner was recently released from the same prison. 5. The Constitutional Court in October 2004 granted residency to the same-sex foreign partner of a citizen, this applies only to this particular couple for now. According to the Caracol News Network, this unprecedented decision involves a couple from the island of San Andres. The couple asked the local government for special residency permission for the foreign partner. This was denied under the argument that this kind of benefit only applies to unions formed by one man and one woman. On a higher-court appeal filed by renowned Colombian attorney German Humberto Rincon Perfetti, the Constitutional Court reaffirmed Colombian couple's right to due process and free development of their personality. According to the Court the local "administrative decision created an obstacle to the decision of maintaining a stable relationship as a homosexual couple," and this is why residency was granted. COMOROS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. CONGO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. COOK ISLANDS LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 7 years in prison for sodomy, and 5 years in prison for indecent acts with males. COSTA RICA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. CROATIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. 2. Extends the same rights to same-sex couples living together as to unmarried heterosexual couples, including state recognition of shared assets and joint health coverage. The law only applies to same-sex couples living together for at least three years. CUBA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws for private sex, but Article 303a of the Penal Code punishes "publicly manifested" homosexuality with between three months and one year in prison, or a fine of 100 to 300 cuotas for people "persistently bothering others with homosexual amorous advances". CYPRUS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 17 for all. Any attempt to have sex with a person under 13 is punishable by up to 13 years in jail, while full intercourse can lead to life in prison. Intercourse with a person aged between 13 and 17 is punishable by up to 3 years in jail. 2. Homosexuals are banned from the military on (health) grounds. CZECH REPUBLIC LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. 2. The Civic Code recognises the legal status of "persons living in the common household". This can be applied to gay and lesbian couples, but it is sometimes necessary to prove that they really live together. Even if one dies intestate, the surviving partner has a right to inherit and to continue to use the apartment.
See my voting record for the Czech Republic Chamber of DeputiesDENMARK LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all, but it is an offence to "induce" a person under 18 to sexual acts "by gravely abusing superior age or experience". 2. Allows homosexuals to register their partnership and gives them (with some exceptions) the same rights and responsibilities as a heterosexual married couple. 3. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 4. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. 5. Allows homosexuals in its military. 6. Bans assisted insemination for lesbians. 7. Allows homosexuals in registered partnerships to adopt their partners' children, but not other children. DJIBOUTI LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for all. Public morality laws, however, are especially used against gay men. Article 330 Penal Code penalizes "every violation of decorum and good behavior on public streets" with up to 2 years imprisonment. DUTCH ANTILLES LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16. ECUADOR LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. 2. Ecuador's constitution Chapter 2, Article 23, Number 3 states: "Equality before the law: All persons will be considered equal and will possess the same rights, freedoms and opportunities without discrimination by reason of birth, age, sex, ethnicity, social origin, language, religion, political affiliation, economic position , sexual orientation, health status, disability, or difference of any other type." EGYPT LAWS: 1. Egyptian law does not explicitly refer to homosexuality, but a wide range of laws covering obscenity and public morality are punishable by jail terms. Contempt of religion (falsely interpreting the Koran and exploiting Islam to promote deviant ideas), is punishable by up to five years in jail. Immoral behavior (debauchery offense), is punishable by up to a maximum sentence of three years in jail. The age of sexual consent is 18. EL SALVADORE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. ERITREA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. ESTONIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. ETHIOPIA LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable with a penalty of 10 days to 3 years' "simple imprisonment". This penalty may be increased by 5 or more years when the offender "makes a profession of such activities", or exploits a dependency relation in order to excercise influence over the other person. The maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment can be applied when the offender uses violence, intimidation or coercion, trickery or fraud, or takes unfair advantage of the victim's inability to offer resistance. The maximum sentence can also be applied when the victim is subjected to acts of cruelty or sadism; when the offender transmits a venereal disease although fully aware of being infected with it; when an adult is charged with committing homosexual acts with persons under 15 years of age; or when distress, shame or despair drives the victim to committing suicide. FALKLAND ISLANDS/MALVINAS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males, and 16 for lesbians and heterosexuals. FAROE ISLANDS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexuals and 15 for heterosexuals. FIJI LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 14 years in prison, with or without corporal punishment. 2. Grants explicit constitutional protections to homosexual citizens. NOTE: 1. Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase is very anti-gay. COURT:1. On 8-26-05 Fiji's High Court overturned the convictions of two gay men, ruling that the South Pacific island's sodomy law was unconstitutional. The court released Thomas McCoskar, a 55-year-old Australian, and Dhirendra Nadan, a 23-year-old native man, telling McCoskar he was free to leave Fiji and return home. McCoskar, a retired university professor from Victoria state, and Nadan were convicted earlier this year and sentenced to two years in prison. In passing sentence the trial judge described gay sex as "something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit." They were on bail while their appeal was heard. The convictions and sentences sparked an international outcry, particularly in Australia. In his landmark ruling Justice Gerald Winter said that the sodomy law - a holdover from British colonial rule - was inconsistent with the Fijian constitution and therefore invalid. "What the Constitution requires is that the law acknowledges difference, affirms dignity and allows equal respect to every citizen as they are," his ruling said. "The State that embraces difference, dignity and equality does not encourage citizens without a sense of good or evil but rather creates a strong society built on tolerant relationships with a healthy regard for the rule of law." "A country so founded will put sexual expression in private relationships into its proper perspective and allow citizens to define their own good moral sensibilities leaving the law to its duties of keeping sexual expression in check by protecting the vulnerable and penalizing the predator." FINLAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination including employment. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military. 4. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 5. Allows Finns who are at least 18 years of age to register a same-sex union in a civil ceremony comparable to traditional matrimony. They also give gay couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples when inheriting each other's property and in cases of divorce. The law makes same-sex partnerships legally binding but stops short of letting lesbian and gay couples adopt children or use the same surname. COURT:1. On 10-19-01 Finland's supreme court awarded custody of two children to their deceased mother's lesbian partner instead of their biological father. Lower courts had said the children should be handed over to the father, who has been living abroad for most of the children's lives, but the supreme court based its decision on the will of the children, who wanted to stay with their mother's partner. It is the first supreme court ruling in which custody of children was given to a person not related to the children rather than to a biological family member. The two children, ages 12 and 14, had been in the sole custody of their mother and her partner since 1993. "The court came to the conclusion that it was in the best interest of the children that custody be awarded to the person with whom the children were living," the ruling read. On 9-28-01 Finland granted legal recognition to same-sex partnerships, although it stopped short of giving lesbian and gay couples adoption rights. FRANCE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination including employment, service, public or private. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military. 4. Has a partnership law that grants registered couples, gay or straight, romantic or not, many of the rights of marriage. The law applies in areas such as income tax, inheritance, housing, immigration, health benefits, job transfers, synchronized vacation time, responsibility for debts, and social welfare. It does not grant equality in the areas of parental rights, adoption or medically assisted procreation. Unlike heterosexual couples who get married, registered partners will tie the knot before a court rather than at the town hall. 5. Bans artificial insemination for lesbians. 6. A national law makes homophobic or sexist speech illegal. Perpetrators of the crime face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $60,000. Gay rights groups say the law will prevent hate crimes and ensure that homophobia is treated in the same way racial discrimination is. NOTE: 1. President Jacques Chirac is very anti-gay. 2. Andre Labarrere (Socialiste)(Pyrenees-Atlantiques), member of the French Senate, is openly gay. 3. Bertrand Delanoë (Socialiste), Mayor of Paris, is openly gay. COURT:1. An appeals court ruled in March 1990 that Catholic officials had the right to fire a sexton because he is gay. The court said the man`s homosexuality was an infringement of his contract with the Paris parish where he had been employed. 2. In September 2004 a French Family court formally recognized a gay couple as parents for the first time, and nearly a quarter of a million children, who currently live in gay families, might be affected by this ruling in the future. The gay couple in question, Carla and Marie-Laure, along with their daughters Giulietta, Zelina and Luana, have been recognized as being one family -- the first time the term "family" has been officially used when both parents are the same sex. French laws do not recognize gay families, but with support from neighbors, relatives, pediatricians and teachers, the gay couple managed to circumvent the minefield of French law to achieve their newly found status as a family. This result may have far-reaching consequences in breaking down the remaining legal barriers, which prevent gay marriage, artificial insemination and adoption in the country. Marie-Laure is the natural mother of the children. One was conceived by artificial insemination, which had to be carried out in a Belgian clinic after France outlawed the practice for lesbians. Due to a change in French family law, Marie-Laure applied to have her 'parental authority' restored after giving up her legal rights as the children's mother when Carla adopted all three of them three years ago. On hearing that all three children were happy and well-adjusted and recognized both women as their mother, the family court of the Tribunal de Grande Instance decided that Marie-Laure's parental authority should be restored "in the best interests of the children." Justice Minister Dominique Perben said that this case was without precedent. 3. On 4-19-05 an appellate court in the southwestern city of Bordeaux upheld a lower court's decision that nullified the union of Stephane Chapin and Bertrand Charpentier and ruled that any redefinition of marriage should be taken up by lawmakers. Chapin and Charpentier exchanged vows June 5 last year in a highly publicized ceremony in the Bordeaux suburb of Begles. The government immediately said the same-sex marriage was not legal. In the lower court's ruling July 27, it said that same-sex couples are already covered under the so-called PACs legislation, which grants nonmarried cohabiting couples of the same or opposite sexes some of the rights enjoyed by married couples. See my voting records for the France Senate and National AssemblyFRENCH GUYANA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. FRENCH POLYNESIA (TAHITI) LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. GABON LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. GEORGIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. GERMANY LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. Sexual activity with a person over 14 and under 16 by a person over 18 exploiting a vulnerably placed minor or for payment can be punished with up to five years imprisonment, and sexual activity with a minor in the same age group by a person of over 21 if he or she takes advantage of the victims incapability of sexual self-determination can be punished with up to two years imprisonment. 2. Allows same-sex couples to register their partnerships; gives them hospital visitation rights; grants German resident status to foreign partners; extends to gay and lesbian co-parents some parental rights with respect to their partners' biological children; gives couples status identical to married couples for purposes of tenancy, inheritance (excluding inheritance taxes), pensions, and health insurance; and requires a formal legal process for dissolution of partnerships, and provision for one partner to collect support from the other afterwards if necessary. A decision later by the labor court will also ensure the financial benefits received by same-sex couples are on par with heterosexual couples. This follows a case of a male nurse filing for the same benefits as his straight colleagues. He had claimed it was unfair that he and his partner received less than his married co-workers. Now, location allowances and other financial issues will be equalized throughout the country's civil service and governmental agencies. A new law passed in 2004 allows same-sex couples to adopt each other's biological children and also gives state pension privileges for surviving partners and an exemption from testifying against each other in court. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military, but not as officers. 4. Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia have anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation. 5. Bans artificial insemination for lesbians. 6. Hamburg offers a domestic partner registry for same-sex couples, it allows hospital visitation rights, and federally subsidized low-rent housing to registered partners. NOTE: 1. Volker Beck and Guido Westerwelle are openly homosexual members of the German Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament). 2. Klaus Wowereit (Social Democrat), Mayor of Berlin, is openly gay. 3. Ole von Beust (Christian Democratic Union), Mayor of Hamburg, is openly gay. COURT:1. On 7-17-02 Germany's high court upheld a law that gives same-sex couples some marriage like benefits. Judges at the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe voted 5-3 to back the law, which was challenged last year by Bavaria and two eastern states. The court rejected a lawsuit by conservatives who argued gay marriage violates constitutional provisions protecting marriage and the family. The law, in effect since August, allows same-sex couples to "marry" at registry offices and requires a court decision for divorce. Same-sex couples also receive rights given to heterosexual couples in areas such as inheritance and health insurance. The legislation brought Germany in line with countries such as Denmark, which was the first to grant rights to same-sex couples in 1989, France and Sweden. The Netherlands remains the only country that extends equal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. 2. A German court in April, 2004 ruled that the civil service and all government agencies must pay benefits to the partners of same-sex couples equal to those they pay to the married spouses of heterosexuals. This decision by the federal labor court in effect expands the country's domestic partner laws without parliamentary approval. In their ruling, the judges said that there is no difference between a registered life partnership and marriage when it came to remuneration in the public service, with the court accepting that a Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft, the German term for a registered domestic partnership, also meant family status. A leading member of the parliamentary Green Party, Volker Beck hailed the judgment as a "big break-through". This judgment followed a case brought by a male nurse who claimed heterosexual married colleagues received higher benefits. Like marriage, the court said, registered same-sex partnerships are a long-term relationship with their disillusionment requiring a judicial decision. Introduced in August 2002, the registered partnership law was an attempt by Germany's Social Democrat-Green Party coalition government to bring same-sex relationships into line with straight couples, without granting the status of marriage. It provides rights relating to hospital visits and taking over apartments in the event of the death of one partner. Nevertheless there are still some areas where the law falls short. Conservative lawmakers in parliament have consistently blocked attempts to expand the law, notably in taxation. 3. 0n 6-24-05 the Berlin Administrative Court ruled that Germany's 2002 gay partnership law entitles a same-sex spouse to receive the pension benefits of a deceased partner. At issue in this ruling was the definition of the word 'spouse' in pension benefit plans. A retirement fund operated by the Berlin Medical Association rejected a 45-year-old general practitioner's application to have his male partner listed as his 'spouse' in the benefits plan. The fund's lawyers argued that only a legally married spouse could continue to receive retirement benefits after the insured member's death. The Berlin court, in ruling in favour of the gay doctor, said the intent of Germany's 2002 gay partnership law was to entitle gay couples precisely to just such benefits. GHANA LAWS: 1. Homosexual acts between men can be punished under provisions concerning assault and rape. This will only happen when one of those involved makes a formal complaint or when it concerns an act with a minor. GREECE LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is legal, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. Acts of lewdness against nature between males which involve the abuse of a relationship of dependence created by employment, or which are committed by an adult seducing a person below the age of 17, or which are committed with the intention of profiteering, are punished with between 3 months to 5 years imprisonment. 2. Bans homosexuals from its military. GREENLAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. 2. Allows homosexuals to register their partnership and gives them (with some exceptions) the same rights and responsibilities as a heterosexual married couple, it does not allow them the right to adopt children. GRENADA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. GUADELOUPE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. GUATEMALA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18. GUINEA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with six months to three years of imprisonment and a fine of 100 000 to 1 000 000 Guinean francs. If the act was committed with a minor under 21 years of age, the maximum penalty must be pronounced. Any person that has committed a public indecency (public sex) will be punished by three months to two years of imprisonment and a fine of 50 000 to 450 000 Guinean francs or simply by one of these two punishments. When an indecent act (group sex) is committed by a group of individuals, the penalties will be doubled. GUINEA-BISSAU LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. GUYANA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to life in prison. HAITI LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18. HONDURAS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. 2. The new Constitution enacted in 1982 by the new National Congress "guarantees" equality under the law and prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, class or "in any form that harms human dignity" (Article 60). This wording seems open-ended enough to encompass discrimination against sexual minorities and people living with HIV/AIDS, although such an interpretation has yet to be considered by the courts. HONG KONG LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 21 for homosexual males, and 16 for heterosexuals. The law regards lesbianism as non-existent. Therefore, the age of sexual consent does not apply to lesbians. NOTE: 1. Hong Kong passed from British to Chinese control in 1997, changes may come. 2. The Ming Pao daily newspaper is extremely anti-gay. COURT:1. On 8-24-05 a Hong Kong judge ruled that laws against gay sex including one that demands a life sentence for men under 21 who engage in sodomy are unconstitutional and discriminatory. High Court Judge Michael Hartmann made the judgment after William Roy Leung, a 20-year-old homosexual, launched a legal challenge against what he considered discriminatory anti-gay laws. Hartmann said the laws "discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. (They) are demeaning of gay men who are, through the legislation, stereotyped as deviant." Existing laws prohibit "gross indecency," or sexual intimacy, between men if one or both are aged under 21, while heterosexual and lesbian couples who are 16 or older may do so lawfully. Men who engage in consensual sodomy with another when either is under 21 face life imprisonment. Although a similar law also applies to heterosexual sodomy, Hartmann said the law is discriminatory toward gay men. He said in the case of homosexual sodomy, both men are criminally liable, but in the case of heterosexual sodomy only the man, not the woman, is liable. The judge ruled the laws are inconsistent with Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, and the Bill of Rights, which provide that all Hong Kong residents are equally protected by the law. He determined the laws are a "grave and arbitrary interference with the right of gay men to self-autonomy in the most intimate aspects of their private lives." HUNGARY LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is legal, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. 2. Allows homosexuals to enter into Common-Law Relationships. This allows gays to share Common-Law Partner Benefits as heterosexuals do, including the right to inherit property and a deceased partners pension, but also bans adoption by homosexual couples. 3. Bans artificial insemination for lesbians. COURT:1. The Constitutional Court on 9-4-02 annulled a paragraph of the criminal code that said it was a crime punishable by up to three years in prison for gay adults to have sex with consenting teenagers aged 14 to 18, a court spokesman said. Sex between heterosexual adults and consenting teenagers aged 14 and over is not illegal in Hungary. "The criminal code discriminated against homosexuals in an arbitrary and objectively unjustifiable way," the court said in its verdict. ICELAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. There is a ban on "seduction" of 14 to 16 year-olds by "misleading, gifts, or other means", which applies equally to heterosexuals and homosexuals. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. 3. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 4. Allows homosexual couples to register as Domestic Partners and obtain joint custody of each others biological children. INDIA LAWS: 1. Male homosexual sex is forbidden by law, punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison. COURT:1. On 9-2-04 the Delhi High Court dismissed a legal challenge to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, India's sodomy law. The Court claimed that the validity of the sodomy law could not be challenged by anyone "not affected by it." The case was filed by two prominent Indian organizations that represent the interests of men who have sex with men, the Naz Foundation International and the National AIDS Control Organization. According to the Court, since no sodomy charge had been filed against the groups, they lacked standing to challenge the law. Section 377 punishes acts of sodomy, buggery and bestiality. Although it criminalizes these acts committed by anyone, the law is commonly used to target, harass and punish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. 2. In December 2004 a judge in the city of Amritsar dismissed a case against a lesbian couple saying there was no law that prevented the women from living together. Homosexuality is illegal in India, but lesbians are not specifically mentioned in the law the judge noted. The two women, one 18, the other 25, say they were married in a Hindu ceremony, but did not provide proof of the wedding, according to Indian media reports. The women claimed their marriage was performed according to Hindu rites, but police said they did not believe Hindu priests would knowingly have allowed a same-sex marriage. The couple was detained by police following a complaint by the father of one of the women who told officers that his neighbors had shunned the family after his daughter's sexuality was known. The family of the other woman reportedly supports the couple. Gay activists in India have tried with no avail for several years to have the country's sodomy law overturned. INDONESIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of consent is 17 for heterosexuals, there are no laws regarding the age of homosexual consent. IRAN LAWS: 1. Homosexuality is illegal, those charged with love-making are given a choice of four deathstyles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch. According to Article 152, if two men not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge's discretion. Gay teens (Article 144) are also punished at a judge's discretion. Rubbing one's penis between the thighs without penetration (tafheed) shall be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English-speaking world as "frottage" is punishable by death if the "offender" is a non-Moslem. If frottage is thrice repeated and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth "offense" both men will be put to death. According to Article 156, a person who repents and confesses his gay behavior prior to his identification by four witnesses, may be pardoned. Even kissing "with lust" (Article 155) is forbidden. This bizarre law works to eliminate old Persian male-bonding customs, including common kissing and holding hands in public. IRAQ LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18. If a minor is between 15 and 18 years old and does not resist the sexual act, the adult may be punished with imprisonment of up to 7 years. If a minor is 14 years or below, the punishment is a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. IRELAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 17 for homosexual males regarding anal and oral sex, 15 for lesbians, and for heterosexuals oral sex is legal at age 15. 2. Incitement of Hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation is illegal. 3. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination, including employment. Religious institutions are exempted in instances where it conflicts with their teachings. Sexual orientation is also a categorie protected from discrimination in provision of goods, services (including education) and accommodations (including membership in private clubs), whether by private or government entities (including health boards). Those who feel they have experienced unequal treatment can file a complaint with the Director of Equality Investigations, a government entity established under the Employment Equality Act, which can issue orders to be enforced by the courts. 4. The Censorship of Publications Board banned the book, Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin, a childrens book about a girl living with her father and his male lover. The book was on sale for 7 years before being banned. 5. Citizens can only adopt a child if they are legally married, widowed or judicially separated people. NOTE: 1. David Norris, Senator, is openly gay. ISRAEL LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is legal, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. Also exempts consensual homosexual sex involving youths aged 14 and 15 from prosecution, as long as the age difference between the partners is no more than three years. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. 3. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination , including employment. 4. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 5. The Civil Service Commission extends spousal benefits and pensions to the partners of homosexual employees. 6. The city of Tel Aviv recognizes unmarried couples, including gays and lesbians, as family units and grants them discounts for municipal services. Under the bylaw, unmarried couples qualify for the same discounts on day care and the use of swimming pools, sports facilities, and other city-sponsored activities that married couples enjoy. 7. The Israeli State Attorney's Office has extended the spousal exemption from property-transfer taxes to same-sex couples. 8. Israel's attorney general has granted legal recognition to same-sex couples in financial and other business matters. Attorney General Meni Mazuz said the couples will be treated the same as common-law spouses, recognizing them as legal units for tax, real estate, and financial purposes. Mazuz made his decision by refusing to appeal a district court ruling in an inheritance case that recognized the legality of a same-sex union, his office said in a statement. Mazuz did differentiate, however, between recognizing same-sex unions for financial and practical purposes, as he did, and changing the law to officially sanction the unions, which would be a matter for parliament, according to the statement. NOTE: 1. Etai Pinkas (Meretz Party), member of the Tel Aviv City Council is openly gay. 2. Yigal Bibi, Rabbi Haim Meir Druckman, Rabbi Avraham Ravitz, Michael Eitan, and Zevulun Orlev are anti-gay members of Parliament (Knesset). 3. Uzi Even (Meretz Party) is an openly gay member of Parliament (Knesset). 4. Saar-Ran Netanel (Meretz Party), member of the Jerusalem City Council is openly gay. COURT:1. The High Court ruled that the partner of a gay employee at EL AL, Israel`s national airline, is entitled to free airline tickets just as the spouse of any heterosexual employee is. 2. The High Court recognized a lesbian as the adoptive mother of the four-year-old son of her same-sex partner, and ordered the Interior Ministry to register the adoption. 3. An Israeli family court on 3-17-02 turned down an application from a lesbian couple to have their partnership union declared legal. The couple was united in a civil ceremony in Germany. The women wanted the court to recognize their partnership as a civil marriage, under Israeli law. The court said that since the women are not recognized as a family under Israeli law, the court is not authorized to rule on their case. A government lawyer who was asked by the court to give a legal opinion on the case on behalf of the Israeli government said that the state objected to granting the request. 4. On 11-14-04 the Nazareth District Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same rights as married couples in inheritance rights. This ruling overturned a Family Court ruling that an elderly man from Kiryat Shmona was not entitled to spousal rights. The man had sought the estate of his late partner, with whom he lived for several decades. The Nazareth judges ruled that the term "man and woman" as spelled out in Israel's inheritance law also includes same sex couples. Judges Nissim Maman and Gabriela Levy, who issued the majority opinion, based their decision on a loose interpretation of the term "partner" as defined in other court rulings, such as those dealing with issues related to employment benefits, and thus applied the interpretation to the inheritance law. The acting president of the Nazareth District Court, Menachem Ben-David, issued the minority opinion, arguing that the legal text should not be interpreted "contrary to the lingual significance." A government spokesperson said the ruling will be appealed. 5. In December 2004 the Tel Aviv District Court ruled that the government cannot deport the Colombian partner of a gay Israeli man. The 32-year-old Colombian entered Israel on a visitors visa which has long expired and the Interior Ministry had ordered him deported. His partner is an Israeli citizen and a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. The couple filed an emergency petition with the Tel Aviv District Court. The men were represented by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Judge Uzi Vogelman ruled that the government had acted illegally in attempting to deport the man. In 1999 High Court ruling established that the ministry could not deport foreign nationals married to Israeli citizens. Vogelman's decision extends that to apply to common-law marriages, including same-sex couples. 6. On 1-10-05 the Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian couple is able to legally adopt each other's children. During the past 15 years that Tal and Avital Yaros-Hak have lived together, they have had a total of three children. The couple petitioned the Tel Aviv Family Court for the right to formally adopt each other's children in 1997, but the request was rejected because Israel's adoption law had no provisions for same-sex couples. The couple appealed. While they failed to get a favorable ruling in the Tel Aviv District Court, the Supreme Court accepted the case. Citing Article 25 of the Adoption Law, the Yaros-Haks argued that the law allows for "special circumstances" for adoption when it is for the good of the child, even if the child's parents are still alive. The only condition is that the person seeking to adopt be single. The couple argued that since the state does not recognize same-sex marriage, they are single by law. The Yaros-Haks added that adoption was in the best interest of the children if one of their natural mothers should die. The Israel Supreme Court agreed, ruling 7-2 in favor of the couple. ITALY LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. 2. The Italian Parliament voted to recognize (a group of cohabiting persons tied by bonds of affection) as being included in the countries official definition of a family. The new definition also applies to inheritance laws and wills. 3. Bologna allocates public housing units to homosexual couples. 4. Allows homosexuals in its military, but homosexuals may be expelled for (overt homosexual sexual behavior). 5. Allows only married couples to adopt children. NOTE: 1. Doctors attending a national Medical Association meeting voted to ban the use of Alternative Insemination for single heterosexual women and lesbians. 2. Gianfranco Fini, and Gustavo Selva are very anti-gay members of the Chamber of Deputies (Lower House of the Italian Parliament). 3. Nichi Vendola, Titti De Simone, and Franco Grillini are all openly gay members of the Chamber of Deputies (Lower House of the Italian Parliament). 4. Rosario Crocetta, Mayor of Gela, Sicily, is openly homosexual. COURT:1. The Italian supreme court ruled on 4-11-00 that homosexuality is a "psychiatric illness or disorder." The ruling came in the case of a woman seeking a divorce from her husband of 25 years because he admitted he is gay. The court was upholding the divorce granted by an ecclesiastical court, which ruled that the woman was not entitled to alimony because the church believes marriages in which one partner turns out to be gay are void "as if they had never taken place." The supreme court agreed that the ecclesiastical court was correct in stating that gays are "psychologically incapable of assuming their conjugal obligations" and have "a grave inability to carry out the duties of matrimony." IVORY COAST LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. JAMAICA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 10 years imprisonment and hard labor. A penalty of up to 7 years imprisonment, with or without hard labour, is provided for anyone attempting to commit homosexual acts or an "indecent assault" on another male person. JAPAN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent for males ranges by local from age 13 to 17. 2. Bans open homosexuals from its military. 3. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government includes sexual orientation as a category protected from discrimination within its human rights guidelines. Ehime (in the south west district of Japan), also has human rights guidelines which mention lesbian and gay rights. 4. The southern Japanese city of Miyakonojo bans discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. NOTE: 1. Kanako Otsuji, member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly, is openly lesbian. COURT:1. A Japanese court in April, 2004 rejected a request for refugee status from a gay Iranian man who claimed that his sexuality would be grounds for the death penalty if he was sent back to his homeland. It was the first case taken by a Japanese court dealing with a person who had sought refugee status citing homosexuality. The Tokyo District Court said the 40-year-old man's sexual orientation was not grounds enough to grant refugee status. "In Iran, he has been concealing his homosexuality. Therefore, the possibility is slight that he would be persecuted at home," presiding judge Yosuke Ichimura said. The man fled to Japan in 1991 because of fears that he would be persecuted in his native country, according to court documents. He was arrested by Japanese authorities in 2000 as an illegal immigrant, the documents said. JORDAN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. Punishes sexual intercourse with persons under the age of 16 (male or female) with forced labour for three to five years, while the punishment for sex with a male or female under the age of 13 can receive no less than five years imprisonment. KAZAKHSTAN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. KENYA LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is strictly forbidden, punishable with up to 14 years in prison. NOTE: 1. Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, President of Kenya, is extremely anti-homosexual. KIRIBATI LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 14 years in prison. KOSOVO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males and 14 for lesbians and heterosexuals. Homosexual males who have sexual relations with another male under 18 can receive up to 1 year imprisonment. KUWAIT LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishes sexual intercourse between men over 21 years of age with imprisonment of up of to seven years, it punishes sexual intercourse with a male under 21 with imprisonment of up to 10 years. KYRGYZSTAN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. LAOS LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. LATVIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. 2. Only married couples can adopt and foster children. 3. Lesbians have no access to donor insemination. 4. Under paragraph 35.2 of the Latvian Civil Law same-sex marriages are prohibited. NOTE: 1. Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis is very anti-gay. COURT:1. On 7-22-05 a Latvian court ruled that Riga City was unjustified for banning Latvia's first LGBT Pride parade. The July 23 march had been approved by the city council in the Baltic nation's capital but on 7-20-05 Erik Shkapars, the executive director of Riga City, withdrew his permission. Shkapars said he made the decision following criticism of the event by Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis. Kalvitis said that holding a gay procession near the Riga Dom Cathedral - the 13th century cathedral in downtown Riga - was a sacrilege. LEBANON LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with imprisonment not exceeding one year. LESOTHO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. LIBERIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. LIBYA LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punished with 3 to 5 years imprisonment. LIECHTENSTEIN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. However, sexual relations of a person over the age of 18 with a 14 or 15 year old person remain illegal if the older person takes unfair advantage of a situation of distress of the younger person or renders a remuneration. 2. Male homosexual prostitution is legal. 3. The penal code includes same-sex domestic partners in the definition of 'next of kin' for the purpose of the penal code. LITHUANIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males and 16 for lesbians and heterosexuals. Homosexual males who have sexual relations with another male under 18 can receive up to 3 to 8 years imprisonment. 2. Access to donor insemination services is limited to married couples. 3. Bans direct and indirect discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, education, housing and provision of goods and services. Illegal harassment is defined as unacceptable behavior resulting in humiliation or violation of human dignity. LUXEMBOURG LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. 3. Has a hate crimes law that gives prison sentences from one month to two years and/or fines from 10.001 to 1 million Francs for incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence or acts of discrimination against physical persons, a community or corporate body based on their sexual orientation. The sentences provided will be higher by one third (3 months to three years, fine up to 1,500,000 Francs) if the offence is committed by a civil servant. 4. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. The law punishes, among other things, the refusal of goods or services, the advertising of such a refusal to groups based on sexual orientation, and the obstruction of normal economic activity whatsoever. The law also concerns the labour market, e.g., the non-employment or sacking of persons due to sexual orientation. According to the provisions, associations fighting against discrimination will have the right to institute proceedings even if individual(s) concerned do not sue for discrimination. MACAU LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. MACEDONIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. NOTE: 1. The Bar Association in Macedonia voted to ban homosexuals and alcoholics from becoming lawyers. Gays who already are licensed to practice law will be allowed to continue. MADAGASCAR LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 21. MALAWI LAWS: 1. Section 153 Penal Code, which prohibits "unnatural offences", and Section 156 concerning "public decency", are used to punish homosexual acts. It is reported that, in the past, Europeans who committed homosexual acts with Malawis were prosecuted under Article 156 and expelled as undesirable aliens. MALAYSIA LAWS: 1. Homosexual acts are illegal, punishable by lashing and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Even cruising is illegal, punishable with up to 2 years in prison. 2. Bans homosexuals from appearing on radio and television. MALDIVES LAWS: 1. Male homosexual sex is forbidden by law, punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison. MALI LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. MALTA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 12 for all. Relations with adolescents up to 18 years are only criminal if they are considered to "deprave" the minor. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination , employment. MARSHALL ISLANDS LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 10 years in prison. MARTINIQUE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. MAURITANIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with death. MAURITIUS LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 5 years in prison. MEXICO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18. Imprisonment of 3 to 8 years applies to anyone "who facilitates or procures" the corruption of a minor under 18 years of age, education about sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases cannot be considered as corruption of minors. 2. Mexico City has a gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. The law prohibits provocation or incitement of hate or violence, and bans bias in employment and public accommodations and services. The penalty for violation of the law will be one to three years in prison and/or a fine equal to 50 to 200 days’ salary and/or 25 to 100 days of community service. 3. By a decision of the city council of Aguascalientes, capital of the state of Aguascalientes, the Ojo Caliente water park prohibits access "to dogs and homosexuals,". The city's Director of Regulations Jorge Alvarez Medina said that as long as he holds his post, he "will not allow access to homosexuals." 4. The state of Aguascalientes bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Penal Code punishes with six to nine months in prison "anyone who provokes or incites hate or violence, or negates or restricts employment rights based on sexual orientation." The state of Chiapas also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. 5. Article 4 of the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination bans discrimination based on sexual preference. It further bans discrimination based on an individual’s decision to "openly acknowledge one’s sexual preference," be that via "dress, talk [or] mannerisms." The law applies in the areas of education, employment, medical care, social security benefits, public services, private institutions providing public services, reproductive rights, property rights, sports, cultural and recreation activities, civil and political organizations, media messages and images, and free movement. It criminalizes exploitation, degredation and physical or psychological abuse against protected individuals and prohibits promoting or engaging in hatred, violence, rejection, ridicule, defamation, slander, persecution and exclusion toward protected groups. In the case of violations by public officials, the National Council to Prevent Discrimination will demand an explanation from the accused party, call a conciliation hearing, and suggest solutions. If a solution is not forthcoming, the council will punish proven violators. In the case of violations by private entities or individuals, the council will suggest a concilation hearing and mediate between the parties. NOTE: 1. In the Mexican coastal cities of Veracruz and Boca del Río, local officials have pledged a "merciless war" against gay men and prostitutes. The campaign to rid a cruisy seaside area of gay men and to keep prostitutes away from the waterfront began in January 2001 to widespread criticism. "There will be a merciless war gainst homosexuals and prostitutes, with the purpose of eradicating the bad image and immorality in the center of the city," Veracruz Mayor Ramon Gutiérrez de Velasco said. MOLDOVA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for oral sex, and 18 for anal sex for all. MONACO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15, consent is considered not to be present between a minor (under 18) and a person in a position of authority. MONGOLIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. Section 113 of the Penal Code prohibiting "immoral gratification of sexual desires", can be used against homosexuals. MONTENEGRO LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is legal, the age of consent is 14 for all. MOROCCO LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, which provides a penalty of between 6 months and 3 years imprisonment and additional fines from 120 to 1200 dirhams for "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex". MOZAMBIQUE LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable with a penalty of up to 3 years imprisonment in a "re-education institution" where hard labour is used to alter the prisoners "aberrant behaviour". NAMIBIA LAWS: 1. Male homosexuality is illegal. 2. Namibia's Labour Code (Clause 107) explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. COURT:1. The High Court in Windhoek on June 24 reaffirmed a German lesbian's right to permanent residence status based on her relationship with her Namibian partner. Judge Harold Levy found that since heterosexual couples are recognized for common-law relationships -- "universal partnerships" -- then, given the "equality provision in the Constitution and the provision against discrimination on the grounds of sex, I have no hesitation in saying that the long- term relationship between the applicants in so far as it is a universal partnership, is recognized by law." NAURU LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. NEPAL LAWS: 1. Male homosexual sex is forbidden by law, punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison. NETHERLANDS LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all, sex between an adult and a young person between the ages of 12 and 16 is permitted by law, as long as the young person consents. It may only be prosecuted by complaint from the young person or the young person’s parents. The question remains whether the public prosecutions department would proceed to prosecute if the young person themself had consented and their parents filed the complaint. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination , including labour, housing, medical care and access to goods and services. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military. Dutch laws permit members of the armed services to engage in consensual homosexual relationships when off duty and away for military premises, be it with a civilian or a member of the armed services of the same or another rank. 4. The Royal Dutch Air Force requires everyone entering the force to undergo an innovative training program to increase sensitivity to Gays in the Air Force. The Dutch armed forces appear to be the most sensitive to gays in the world, although the Army and Navy do not have similar training programs. 5. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 6. Allows homosexuals to adopt children. 7. Allows same-sex couples to marry, granting gay couples complete parity with married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples can marry at city hall and adopt children. They will be able to divorce through the court system, like heterosexual couples. COURT:1. The courts have interpreted the constitution to prohibit anti-gay discrimination. See my voting record for the Netherlands Second ChamberNETHERLANDS ANTILLES LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. Homosexual contacts with minors under the age of 16 is punished with a penalty of up to 4 years imprisonment. Heterosexual contacts with minors under the age of 16 are only criminal under certain conditions. NEW CALEDONIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. NEW ZEALAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 3. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination , employment, education, access to public places, provision of goods and services, housing and accommodation, partnerships, vocational training bodies, qualifying bodies, and industrial and professional associations. It also protects those who have HIV or AIDS infection from discrimination. 4. Allows homosexuals in its military. 5. New rules from New Zealand’s Health Funding Authority permit lesbian couples and single women to access state-funded fertility treatments. In the past, such women often had to pay the $900- per-cycle fee themselves due to regional inconsistencies in eligibility criteria. 6. Allows homosexual and heterosexual de-facto couples who have been together for three years the same property rights as married heterosexual couples. In the event of a breakup, assets acquired during the relationship are to be split 50-50. Couples who do not want to be covered by the law can draw up a costly contract to opt out of the law's provisions. 7. Allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions that confer the same legal status as marriage. The benefits include child custody, property rights, and tax, welfare, and retirement benefits. This also allows civil union partners to be buried in the same plot of land. 8. Prostitution is legal for both homosexuals and heterosexuals, licensed brothels operate under public-health and employment laws. Prostitution is only legal for those age 18 and over. NOTE: 1. Tim Barnett (Labour)(Christchurch Central) and Chris Carter (Labour)(Te Atatu), are openly gay members of the House of Representatives. 2. Dick Hubbard, Mayor of Auckland, is anti-gay. COURT:1. New Zealand's highest court ruled that a lesbian mom's ex-partner must pay support for the 3 children they had during their 14 year relationship. See my voting record for the New Zealand House of RepresentativesNICARAGUA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 4 years in prison. NIGER LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. NIGERIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 14 years in prison. Since 2000, 12 of Nigeria's northern states have adopted Sharia codes for their courtrooms. Under Islamic law, homosexual sex is punishable by death. NOTE: 1. President Olusegun Obasanjo is very anti-gay. He says homosexual tendencies are clearly unbiblical, unnatural, and definitely un-African. NIUE LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 10 years in prison. NORWAY LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. 3. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 4. Allows homosexuals in its military. 5. Inciting hatred of homosexuals is illegal. 6. Gives registered homosexual couples the same legal rights as married couples, except the right to marry in church, and the right to adopt children. 7. Only married heterosexual couples are permitted to adopt under Norwegian law. OMAN LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable by up to 3 years in prison, but only acts arousing scandal lead to public prosecution. PAKISTAN LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable with life in prison, and corporal punishment of 100 lashes, while Islamic law, which also can be enforced legally, calls for up to 100 lashes or death by stoning. PANAMA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. PAPUA NEW GUINEA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, anal intercourse is punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, other homosexual relations between men are punishable with up to five years imprisonment. Lesbian relations are not criminal, the age of sexual consent is 16. PARAGUAY LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 12 for all, but it can be punishable under certain circumstances when specific charges of "corruption of minors" and "offences against public morals" are introduced. PERU LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. COURT:1. In November 2004 Peru's constitutional court granted gays in the military the freedom to have sex, declaring that a rule which had deemed such relations illegal was unconstitutional. The army's rule had stipulated that military personnel could not engage in sexual relations with persons of the same sex either within or outside their barracks. But constitutional court official Samuel Abad dubbed that rule "completely discriminatory." Gays in the armed forces had been subject to expulsion or prison sentences if they engaged in homosexual relations, even outside their barracks, under a rule that Aldo Araujo of Lima's Homosexual Movement gay rights group declared "a violation of people's right to privacy." PHILIPPINES LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 12 for all, but contacts with minors (under 18) are an offence, if the minor consents to the act for money, gain or any other remuneration or as the result of an influence of any adult person. 2. Bans homosexuals from its military. 3. The Islamic city of Marawi City bans overt homosexuals as well as skintight jeans and other skimpy attire from public places. Violations of the dress code or open display of homosexuality will be punished with the pouring of paint on the head by the "muttawa" or religious police. POLAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all, but it is a general offence to induce another person to sexual acts by abusing a dependency or a situation of distress, punishable with up to five years imprisonment. Homosexual prostitution is legal. 2. The constitution restricts marriage to heterosexual couples only. 3. Donor insemination is available only to married couples. NOTE: 1. Lech Kaczynski, Mayor of Warsaw, is very anti-gay. PORTUGAL LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for homosexuals and 14 for heterosexuals. Homosexual relations with 14 and 15 year old adolescents is punishable with up to 2 years in jail. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military. 4. The current housing law does not distinguish between homosexual and heterosexual couples. Hence, it would equally apply to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In case of the death of the tenant, the lease is not automatically inherited by the bereaved partner but (s)he has preferential right to keep the lease. 5. Grants same-sex couples who have lived together for more than two years the same rights as heterosexual couples in common law marriages, rights in such areas as vacations, taxes, inheritance, pensions, housing contracts and rental leases. The law does not allow same-sex couples to adopt children. PUERTO RICO LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punished with up to 10 years in prison. 2. The Justice Department in Puerto Rico applies domestic violence laws to same-sex couples. NOTE: 1. Puerto Rico is a United States dependency. QATAR LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishes sodomy between consenting adults (irrespective of sex) with up to five years imprisonment. REUNION LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. ROMANIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. RUSSIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for oral sex, and 16 for anal sex. Sexual intercourse, muzhelozhstvo [anal intercourse between men], or lesbianism wittingly committed by a person over 18 on a person under 16 is punished by limitation of freedom up to 3 years or deprivation of freedom up to 4 years. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. 3. The Russian Health Ministry's new classification of mental and behaviour disorders no longer categorises "homosexual orientation" as a "personality disturbance" or any other kind of problem. NOTE: 1. Yuri Luzhkov, Mayor of Moscow, is very anti-gay. COURT:1. A court in Moscow ordered a newspaper to pay a fine for an article it did claiming the countries gay publication promotes necrophillia and pedophillia, it must also publish a retraction of its earlier story. RWANDA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for all. Sexual relations with a person under the age of 18 are punished with a penalty of 2 months to 3 years imprisonment or a fine of up to 10.000 F.Rw. SAINT LUCIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. SAMOA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 5 to 7 years in prison. SAN MARINO LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all, it is an offence to "incite a minor under 18 years to sexual corruption". SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. SAUDI ARABIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, homosexual acts are subject to a maximum penalty of death. Sodomy is proved either by the culprit confessing four times or by the testimony of four trustworthy Muslim men. If there are less than four witnesses or one of them is not trustworthy, they are all to be punished with 80 lashes (a slave 40) for slander. SENEGAL LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of between one and five years and by a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 francs. If the act was committed with a person below the age of 21, the maximum penalty will always be applied. SERBIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males and 14 for lesbians and heterosexuals. Indecent acts against nature with an under-aged male person over the age of 14, can be punished with imprisonment of up to 1 year. 2. Homosexuals are discharged from the Armed Forces if their homosexuality is revealed, and the term "psychological disorder" is entered into their medical record. NOTE: 1. Anti-gay attitudes are deeply ingrained here. SEYCHELLES LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. SIERRA LEONE LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law. SINGAPORE LAWS: 1. Male homosexual sex is illegal, and can be punished by life in prison, lesbian sex is legal in private. 2. Visual representation of homosexual acts are banned, and so are materials that portray homosexuality as a legitimate and acceptable lifestyle. 3. The Ministry of Defence does not admit self-acknowledged gay men into the military, but they have to serve the army in the capacity of administrative or logistical clerks when serving their two and a half-year compulsory military service. NOTE: 1. Singapore's Registrar of Societies refused to register the gay organization People Like Us on March 31, 2004 and ordered its members to cease activity. The agency said registering the group would violate the Societies Act's ban on organizations that are "likely to be used for unlawful purposes or for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order in Singapore" and its ban on organizations that are "contrary to the national interest." People Like Us said it would launch an appeal to the Minister of Home Affairs. However, on April 7, 2004, the ministry suggested that would be pointless. "As the mainstream moral values of Singaporeans are conservative, it is hence contrary to public interest to grant legitimacy to the promotion of homosexual activities and viewpoints," the ministry said in response to a press inquiry. For the time being, People Like Us has halted activity, but a spokesman said the organization's more than 1,000 members will continue to advocate for gay rights individually. SLOVAKIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. SLOVENIA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 14 for all. A person who has sexual intercourse or commits another sexual act with a person of different or same sex who is younger than 14 years shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to five years. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination , including employment. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military. NOTE: 1. This region is the most homosexual tolerant of the former Yugoslavia. SOLOMON ISLANDS LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punished with 14 years imprisonment. SOMALIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punished with imprisonment from 3 months to 3 years, and an act of lust different from sexual intercourse is punished with imprisonment from 2 months to 2 years. SOUTH AFRICA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 19 for homosexuals, and 16 for heterosexuals. Homosexual sex with a person under 19 is punishable with imprisonment of up to six years with or without a fine of up to 12,000 rand. 2. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination. 3. Allows homosexuals in its military. 4. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 5. In terms of a settlement reached with the Government Employees' Pension Fund (GEPF), the partners of gay and lesbian civil servants are now entitled to full pension benefits upon their death. All partners of lesbian and gay employees of state or para-statal organisations will be entitled to pensions from the State Pension Fund upon their death. This affects those who are in a position to register their partners for such benefits, as well as the partners of state employees who are already deceased. COURT:1. The Constitutional Court struck down a law used by the government to deny immigration rights to same-sex foreign partners of South African Gays. The 12-2-99 ruling stated that the law does imply a definition of spouse as a marriage between a man and a woman, and thus, violates the constitution. The court ordered the department to return to offering exemptions for same-sex partners of South African gays until parliament rewrites the law to be explicitly inclusive of them. 2. On 7-25-02 the Constitutional Court gave same-sex couples the same financial status as married heterosexual couples. The court ruled that high court judge Kathy Satchwell's lesbian partner should receive the same financial benefits as if she were a partner in a legally recognized heterosexual marriage. The Pretoria high court had ruled that the couple should qualify for state benefits but had to ask the Constitutional Court to ratify the decision when the state appealed the case. Handing down the judgment, Constitutional Court judge Tole Madala said Satchwell and her partner, whose name was not made public, had been involved in an intimate, committed, exclusive, and permanent relationship since 1986. "Although they live in every respect as a married couple and are acknowledged as such by their families and friends, they are not legally 'spouses' and don't enjoy the benefits accorded to heterosexual married judges," he said. The high court has ruled it was against the country's constitution to discriminate against same-sex couples. The Constitutional Court ratified that ruling. "In the Constitutional Court, government accepted that same-sex partners are entitled to found their relationships compatibly with their sexual orientation," Madala said. The court qualified, however, that a marriage entitles partners to reciprocal support and that financial benefits can only be given to same sex-partners where this support can clearly be shown. "Subject to this qualification, the Constitutional Court finds that the provisions in question unfairly and unjustifiably discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation," Madala said. 3. On 9-10-02 the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to adopt children and laws that prevent them from doing so violate their constitutional rights. 4. On 3-17-03 the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex partners are entitled to the same financial benefits as heterosexual couples. This Constitutional Court decision upheld a High Court ruling in July 2002 that found Kathy Satchwell, herself a high court judge, eligible to receive the same benefits for her lesbian partner that married spouses of heterosexual judges receive. 5. On 3-28-03 the Constitutional Court ruled that children born to same-sex couples by artificial insemination are legitimate. The court ruled that twins born to a lesbian couple by means of artificial insemination held the same status as children born in wedlock. The court ruling followed an application by the couple — identified only as J and B — that Section 5 of the Children's Status Act was unconstitutional because it did not recognize permanent same-sex partners as legitimate parents. 6. On 11-30-04 the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favor of ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage rights. The decision only affected common-law marriage, and did not legalize same-sex marriage outright, but it was hailed as a major step forward by gay activists. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by a lesbian couple. Lawyers for Marie Fourie and Cecelia Bonthuys argued the country's Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it discriminated against gays by excluding them from marriage. South Africa's post-apartheid constitution, considered one of the most liberal in the world, includes a clause making discrimination based on sexual identity illegal. The majority declared that under the Constitution the common law concept of marriage must to be developed to embrace same-sex partners. The current law specifies a marriage is a union of one man and one woman. Judge Edwin Cameron said in his judgment that the definition of marriage should read: "Marriage is the union of two persons to the exclusion of all others for life." See my voting record for the South Africa National AssemblySOUTH KOREA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 13 for all. COURT:1. On 7-27-04 South Korea's Incheon District Court ruled that Same-sex relationships are not common-law marriages. A lesbian had asked the court to force her ex-lover of 20 years to pay alimony and divide up their property. But the court said: "In our society, marriage means a mental and physical unity between a man and a woman. ... A partnership between two persons of the same sex cannot be approved as a married couple. Thus, it cannot be protected legally." SPAIN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 12 for all, but it bans seduction by deception until age 16. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. 3. Provides homosexual couples with health care benefits, access to state widower`s pensions, and alimony in the event of a separation. 4. The northern city of Vitoria allows gay couples to register (officially declare their commitment to each other), it will help couples apply for social security and loans, and rent property, it will also serve as proof in legal cases involving pensions and wills, however it does not affect taxes. 5. Aragon and Catalonia have same-sex domestic partner laws, the laws can only recognize the obligations between the individuals involved in a partnership, but cannot regulate the government's relationship with the partnership. There can be support payments by one partner to the other if the couple splits up, but not the government support for a survivor if one member dies that a traditional widow might collect. Unmarried heterosexual couples and same-gender couples are treated the same in most respects under the laws, except that adoption rights are denied to gay and lesbian couples. Couples are defined as two unmarried, unrelated individuals of legal age in a relationship of mutual affection who have lived together for two years, who register with the regional administration. 6. Has a national gay rights law that bans some anti-gay discrimination ,including housing, employment, public services and professional activities. 7. Criminalizes hate and violence against homosexual individuals and organizations with penalties ranging from six months to four years in prison. 8. The state of Navarro allows adoptions by same-gender couples. The law says that couples who enjoy "a free and public union in an affectionate relationship, independent of sexual orientation ... can adopt children with the same rights and duties as those couples united in matrimony." 9. Homosexual people in Spain`s paramilitary national police force, the Guardia Civil, can live with their partners in barracks. 10. Allows same-sex couples the right to marry, adopt children and inherit each other's property, making their legal status the same as that of heterosexual couples. Spain's justice ministry ruled that the country's same-sex marriage law allows marriage to a foreigner regardless of whether that person's homeland recognizes the partnership. NOTE: 1. Inigo Lamarka, ombudsman for Spain's Basque region, is openly gay. COURT:1. A Spanish court ruled in February 2004 that the same-sex partner of a mother of twins can adopt her children. It was the first time same-sex couples in Spain have been allowed to co-parent. The autonomous regions of the Basque country and Navarre, where the ruling was made, have allowed gays to adopt children since 2000, but has never before heard a case of co-parenting. The one-year-old twin girls had been conceived by artificial insemination. 2. On 7-6-05 a court said a Spanish man can't wed his Indian partner because India does not allow same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court of Justice of Catalonia cited an article in the Spanish civil code which says foreign residents seeking to wed Spaniards are bound by the laws of the country where they have citizenship. The Indian man is a resident of Spain but holds an Indian passport. The court's comments - released in a statement prompted by media inquiries, not in a formal ruling - suggest that for the time being at least, gay Spaniards seeking to marry foreigners can only do so with people from a country that allows same-sex marriage. 3. On 7-21-05 a judge in the southern town of Alicante said that Spain's new law legalizing same-sex marriage may violate the Constitution and is asking a higher court to issue a ruling. Judge Laura Alabau made the announcement in refusing to grant a license to a lesbian couple. She said that the law may be struck down because the constitution specifically refers to marriage as between "a man and a woman." Alabau said she based her refusal on article 163 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows judges to file constitutional challenges. The law granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marry altered the definition of marriage in the Civil Code to read "Marriage shall have the same requirements and effects whether both parties are of the same or of the opposite sex." If Spain's Constitutional Court decides to hear the case it has the power to nullify the new law. SRI LANKA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 10 years in prison. No laws cover sex between women. SUDAN LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable by 100 lashes or death. SURINAME LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexuals, and 16 for heterosexuals. Homosexual acts with someone under the age of 18 is punishable with a penalty of up to 4 years imprisonment. SWAZILAND LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable by imprisonment or a fine. SWEDEN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. 2. Allows foreign partners of its homosexual citizenry to receive residency permits. 3. Bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in the job market, the law applies to all sections of the labor market as well as all categories of employees including applicants for a job. 4. Allows homosexuals to register partnership with all the legal rights and obligations of marriage with the exception of having a church ceremony. Same-sex couples who have entered into a legal partnership can apply to adopt a child. A partner can also adopt the biological child of the other partner. 5. Allows homosexuals in its military. NOTE: 1. Tasso Stafilidis (Left Party)(Helsingborg), Martin Andreasson (Liberal Party)(Stockholm), Ulf Holm (Green Party)(Lund), Börje Vestlund (Social Democratic Party)(Stockholm), and Tobias Billström (Moderate Party) (Malmö), are all openly gay members of Parliament (Riksdag). SWITZERLAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all, and sex is legal between minors who are not more than 3 years apart in age. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military, and legalized homosexual activity between members of its armed forces. 3. The Constitution bans discrimination based on sexual orientation via the phrase "way of life", with an accompanying explanation that gays and lesbians are included in the phrase’s purview. 4. The Swiss canton state of Geneva gives unmarried couples the right to apply for housing together, to be considered next of kin for hospital or prison visits, and to not be a witness in court against each other. These couples, however, are still ineligible for cantonal social security payments and do not have the same tax status as married couples. This also does not cover inheritance, the right to adopt children, and access to artificial insemination. 5. In Switzerland's largest state, Zurich canton, same-sex couples receive marriage rights and obligation in the areas of immigration, taxation, inheritance, social-security benefits and hospital visitation. NOTE: 1. Claude Janiak, member of Parliament, is openly gay. SYRIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable by up to 3 years in prison. TAIWAN LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. NOTE: 1. Annette Lu, Vice President, is very anti-gay. TAJIKISTAN LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, which only specifically criminalizes "anal intercourse between men". Lesbian and non-penetrative homosexual sex between consenting adults is not explicitly mentioned in the law as being a criminal offense. TANZANIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment. On the island of Zanzibar male homosexual sex is illegal, punishable with up to 25 years in prison. Lesbian sex is also illegal, punishable with up to 7 years in prison. The male homosexual sex sentence is the same as that for murder. THAILAND LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 15 for all. The age of consent for sex involving prostitution is 18. 2. Allows homosexuals in its military. TOGO LAWS: 1. Homosexual acts are illegal and are often prosecuted as rape or assault, punishable with fines and up to 3 years imprisonment. TOKELAU LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 10 years in prison. You can receive 5 years imprisonment for making a pass at another male. TONGA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 10 years in prison. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 10 to 20 years in prison. It provides a penalty of up to life imprisonment if committed on a minor (under 18 years old). 2. Under Article 8 of the Immigration Act, homosexuals are not allowed to enter the country. TUNISIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with imprisonment of up to 3 years for sodomy between consenting adults, entrapment is common. TURKEY LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is legal, the age of sexual consent is 18 for vaginal and anal sex, and 16 for all other sex. 2. Homosexuals are banned from the military, and homosexual officers and conscripts must serve prison sentences of 3 to 6 months, officers are discharged immediately following imprisonment. 3. The southern town of Adana bans public male-male kissing, public male-female and female-female kissing are still permitted. 4. Article 10 of the Law of Associations can be used to make gay organizations illegal. TUVALU LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 14 years in prison. You can receive 7 years imprisonment for making a pass at another male. UGANDA LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, criminalizes "carnal knowledge against the order of nature" with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Section 141 prohibits "attempts at carnal knowledge" with a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment. Section 143 punishes acts of, procurement of, or attempts to procure acts of "gross indecency" betweem men in public or private with up to 5 years imprisonment. Prosecutions are rare. NOTE: 1. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, is extremely anti-homosexual. UKRAINE LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES LAWS: 1. Has some sodomy laws, the Abu Zhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy. URUGUAY LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. NOTE: 1. Workers at the Cooperativa Bancaria through their collective bargaining agreement receive health and other benefits for their unmarried same-sex partners. UZBEKISTAN LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with up to 3 years in prison for anal sex. Oral sex is legal. Lesbian sex is not mentioned in the law. VANUATU/NEW HEBRIDES LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18. VENEZUELA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. 2. Bans homosexuals in its Military. VIETNAM LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws. Consensual sex with a person under 13 is punishable by death. 2. Vietnam's national assembly has banned gay marriage. VOJVODINA LAWS: 1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 18 for homosexual males and 14 for lesbians and heterosexuals. Homosexual activity with a male under 18 is punishable with 1 year imprisonment. YEMEN LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is forbidden, punishable by death. ZAIRE LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable with up to 5 years in prison. ZAMBIA LAWS: 1. Has a sodomy law, punishable with 14 years imprisonment. NOTE: 1. Frederick J.T. Chiluba, President, is extremely anti-gay. ZIMBABWE LAWS: 1. Homosexual activity is illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. NOTE: 1. On August 1, 1995, president Robert Gabriel Mugabe called homosexuality an abhorrent offense against nature. He is extremely anti-gay. Sources & Resources World Legal Survey compiled by the International Lesbian & Gay Association International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission
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