Gabon's senate votes to decriminalise homosexuality
Gabon's senate has strongly voted in favour of decriminalising homosexuality, a week after the lower house in the national assembly voted for a similar change.
If the move is ratified by the president, Gabon will become one of only a few African countries to legally allow homosexuality.
A number of prominent politicians, as well as Christian and Muslim leaders, have reacted angrily, describing it as a change designed to appease foreign donors.
Last year, the central African nation criminalised homosexuality and made gay sex punishable with six months in prison and a large fine. Activists said that the move had sent the LGBT community further underground and had led to harassment.
Many African countries impose jail sentences on homosexuals, who are in some cases threatened with the death penalty.
Gabon MPs vote to decriminalise homosexuality
BBC World Service
Members of Gabon's lower house of parliament have voted to decriminalise homosexuality.
the proposal is approved by the upper house and president, it could be one of the few countries in sub-Saharan
Africa to reverse a law that punishes sexual relations between people of the
Last year, the central African nation criminalised homosexuality and made gay sex punishable with six months in prison and a large fine.
Activists said that had sent the LGBT community further
underground and had led to harassment.
Forty-eight members of parliament have now backed the proposal to change the 2019 law and lift the ban; half that number opposed the amendment.
Same-sex marriage is still not allowed in Gabon, where homosexuality is still broadly seen as a social taboo.
One MP in favour of keeping the ban said the
lawmakers who had voted to legalise homosexuality had shaken the nation's
customs and traditions.