The president of Sri Lanka has confirmed his government will not oppose a bill to decriminalise homosexuality.

On 11 September, Sri Lanka’s president, Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the government will not reject the private member’s bill that was presented to parliament by MP Premnath C Dolawatte.

However, Wickremesinghe caveated the statement and added that the bill must gain support ahead of any legislative changes.

Same-sex relationships are currently illegal in the region.

Sri Lanka has several other laws which are discriminatory towards trans people.

Dolawette posted an image of himself and the president with the bill.

The translated caption reads: “[The president with] the bill I submitted to the parliament to amend the penalty law with the primary purpose of protecting and promoting the rights of people with different sexual orientations and sexual identities living in Sri Lanka I handed over to Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe yesterday.”

“Attorney Harshana Ranasinghe and attorney Saminda Konara, members of the Truth Research Organization also participated in the event.”

The aim of the bill is to decriminalise same-sex sexual activoty between consenting adults, by amending sections 365 and 365A of the nations penal code.

Individual members of parliament will need to show their support for the bill before the laws are able to change.

According to the Colombo Gazette, in conversation with the United States Agency for International Development, president Wickremesinghe stated: “We are for it, but you have to get the support of individual members. It’s a matter of their private conscience.”

Dolawatte handed the bill to Wickremesinghe last month, with the hope that LGBTQ+ rights in Sri Lanka would become better protected.

The amendment to the penal code was also submitted as a private member’s bill, meaning the law pertains to a specific group of people, rather than everyone in its jurisdiction.