John M. Becker

Europe's Last Sodomy Ban Bites the Dust

Filed By John M. Becker | January 27, 2014 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Britain, British colonies, colonialism, Cyprus, Europe, North Cyprus, sodomy ban, sodomy law, Turkey

cyprus-map.gifLawmakers in the tiny Mediterranean Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus voted today to repeal the country's colonial-era sodomy ban, the last such law that remained in Europe.

TIME reports that the repeal measure passed with a majority of 28 votes, with one member of parliament voting against the measure and 21 abstaining. The bill now goes to Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, who has pledged to sign it into law.

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus, a former British colony, is divided into northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) sections. While consensual gay sex was decriminalized in Cyprus (the southern section) in 1993 by way of a court ruling, the British-era sodomy ban remained on the books in the north.

Europe is now the third continent to be completely free of laws criminalizing same-sex sexual contact.

The European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association celebrated today's vote in a statement from executive board co-chair Paulo CĂ´rte-Real:

We welcome today's vote and can finally call Europe a continent completely free from laws criminalizing homosexuality. In 1981, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in its historic judgment in Dudgeon v UK case that such laws are in breach of the European Human Rights Convention and must be abolished. It took Europe 33 years to completely free the continent from these unjust and discriminatory laws."

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