The National Assembly of Bhutan has, on Friday, passed resolution for amendments of the country’s panel code which paves way for decriminalisation of the LGBT community.
Sections 213 and 214 of the Penal Code of Bhutan will be removed if the resolution is accepted by National Council and signed by the king.
The sections say a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of unnatural sex if the defendant engages in sodomy or any other sexual conduct that is against the order of nature. And the offence is a petty misdemeanour.
The resolution has to be endorsed by the National Assembly and accepted by the king to become the law.
Many supporters of the LGBT community celebrated the news, saying it paved way to their identity and hoped the changes will help educate the community of the LGBT issues.
Financial Minister Namgay Tshering, while presenting the proposal for amendment of the law, said, “You should not be discriminating anyone by their sex, region, caste and etc. So, with reference to the constitutional provision, we felt that the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, especially article 213 and 214 is unconstitutional, so there is a motion , additional recommendation that I made to legislative committee and the legislative committee has proposed to the parliament and the national assembly has endorsed as a additional recommendation for amendment but today I am personally happy and glad that we all are on the same page and together we have after thorough deliberations on proposal we have actually repealed the article 213 and 214.”
Even though the community accepted LGBTIQ and many came forward on mainstream media declaring their sexual preference in recent years, they still lacked legal recognition.
Even though unnatural sex was decriminalised, the country is to yet to have laws that allow legal marriages between same sex couple. The penal code amendment does not clarify this provision.