Angola on Wednesday (23 January) became the first country this year to decriminalize gay sex.
Lawmakers finally implemented a bill to overhaul to the southwestern African country’s 1886 penal code. They dropped a ‘vices against nature’ provision which was historically used to prosecute against gay sex.
The new code also bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment.
It passed with 155 votes in favor, one against, and seven abstentions. The country’s ruling party said the new code was ‘genuinely Angolan’.
Angola’s previous penal code was written the Portuguese when they ruled the country in 1886.
Discrimination and stigma is a problem in the country. There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
In 2018, LGBTI Angolans celebrated a major win when the government legally recognized an LGBTI rights group, Iris Angola.
Around 70 countries worldwide still criminalize gay sex.
Last year saw landmark decriminalization in India and Trinidad and Tobago.
India’s Supreme Court ruled the anti-gay British-era penal code, similar to Angola’s, was unconstitutional.