A huge win for the LGBTQ+ community of Bhutan!
The Bhutan parliament has approved a bill that will decriminalize homosexuality on Thursday.
Before making the monumental move, sections 213 and 214 of the kingdoms penal code made “unnatural sex” illegal, which many considered referenced the LGBTQ+ community.
Speaking to Reuters, Ugyen Wangdi, a lawmaker and chairperson for the joint panel stated: “Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now.”
According to Wangdi, 63 out of the 69 members voted in favour of the progressive change to the code.
With both houses in agreement, the nation now looks to the King of Bhutan for final approval.
Activist and director of the Rainbow Bhutan group Tashi Tsheten expressed his excitement for the historic move, stating: “I think the bill being passed on Human Rights Day itself is a momentous day for everyone in Bhutan.”
He continued: I believe everyone who has stood up for the LGBTQ+ community in Bhutan is going to celebrate today as this is our victory.”
The Kingdom of Bhutan has now joined the growing list of Asian countries that are ending or relaxing restrictions towards the LGBTQ+ community.
India decriminalized “gay sex” in 2018 and are now making their way to potentially legalize same-sex marriage.
Nepal has also taken steps towards inclusion after it was announced that they will be counting LGBTQ+ people in their upcoming national census.