Northern Cyprus becomes last in Europe to decriminalize homosexuality

Staff Reports

Northern Cyprus has voted to repeal a colonial era ban prohibiting gay sex, a move that makes Europe the third continent in the world with no laws criminalizing homosexuality.

northern-cyprusTurkish Cypriot deputies passed an amendment on Monday repealing a colonial-era law that punished homosexual acts with up to five years in prison, reported The Guardian.

The change still has to be endorsed by the republic’s president, Derviş Eroğlu, who is expected to support the reform.

Once enacted, the new law will mean that no states in Europe, North America, or Australasia (comprising Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea) criminalize homosexuality.

“These pernicious anti-gay laws, which protect no one and cause deep distress and harm to gay and lesbian people, still exist in 82 legal jurisdictions. But that is one fewer than yesterday, and this we must celebrate,” said Jonathan Cooper, chief executive of the London-based Human Dignity Trust.

The Trust had sought legal action in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg against Northern Cyprus for its laws against homosexuality.

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