Angola becomes next African Country to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Angola's national flag

Angola's national flag

On Wednesday, 155 parliamentarians voted for Angola's first overhaul of the criminal statute books since independence, while seven abstained and one voted against.

In contrast, Mozambique, another former Portuguese colony, decriminalised homosexuality in 2015, when it too adopted a new penal code, but declined to register the country's biggest LGBT group, Lambda, leaving it to operate freely, but not legally, Amnesty International reported.

Angola overturned a law that was used to prosecute people for homosexuality and banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

"In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality".

While Angola had no known prosecutions under the old law, HRW said the contested provision harmed the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender people and exposed their lives to painful scrutiny.

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The law also protects members of the LGBTQ community against discrimination in the workplace.

This is the latest in reforms under the administration of President Joao Lourenco, a former defense minister who took office in 2017 after the long rule of Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

This is a huge step for Angola, which only legalized the nation's first gay rights lobbying organization a year ago, after new President Joao Lourenco took office late in 2017.

With Angola now on the journey towards protecting its LGBTQ citizens, the number of countries that ban homosexuality has decreased to 69 according to Human Rights Watch. But at least Angola has gotten on the right side of history!

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