The Seychelles’ government have passed a bill which repeals the ban on sex between gay men.

The Seychelles has decriminalised homosexuality in a historic move which the government hopes will lead to a growth in LGBT travellers to the region.

The  Seychelles, which is made up of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean was part of a number of countries where homosexuality is illegal. The law, which was introduced in 1955 was a hangover from British colonial rule – although convictions were very rare, but those found guilty could be sentenced to prison for up to 14 years.

Female same-sex relationships were not legislated against.

Section 151 of the Penal Code read,

Any person who –

(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or

(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him … against the order of nature,

is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.

ALSO READ: Places in the world that still have the death penalty for homsexuality

ALSO READ: Surprisingly homophobic holiday destinations

The government signalled their intent in 2011 to remove the ban, but the penal code amendment has only just taken place, without a referendum.

Advertisements
-Advert-

According to the Seychelles News Agency (SNA), 28 members of the National Assembly were present for the vote on Section 151’s amendment.

Fourteen voted in favour of scrapping the homophobic law, whilst Fourteen abstained. Four members did not show for the vote.

Parti Lepep, a representative from the ruling party said, as well as appreciating diversity in terms of race and religion, politicians also needed to fight for sexual orientation equality.

The founder of The Seychelles’ only advocacy group for LGBTS, Fabianna Bonne,
told SNA,

“The loudest message that abstaining sent was that they were not going to stand in the way of this change of law happening and we at LGBTI Seychelles appreciate that,” said Bonne.

“Our focus will now be more on educating all of our society about LGBTI as we have noted that misconceptions and negative stereotyping is very widespread on this subject. Our aim however remains full equality across all aspect of citizenship for after all, we pay our equal share of taxes and participate actively in the development of our country,”