On Feb 20, 2017 The Guardian reported: In the last 12 months, Martin Luther King’s “arc of the moral universe” has bent towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights.
Nauru and Belize decriminalised homosexuality and the Seychelles parliament passed a bill ending the ban on same-sex relations. In India, the supreme court said it will review its 2013 judgement that upheld the colonial-era law criminalising “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.
More reasons to be cheerful: Greece, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina enacted new statutes to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Colombia, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Guernsey and the British Antarctic Territory. Italy became the 27th country in Europe to officially recognise same-sex couples, approving the law on civil unions. Similar civil unions were agreed by lawmakers in the Caribbean island of Aruba.
Meanwhile, a cross-party coalition of Guatemalan politicians began pushing for marriage equality and Taiwan’s legislature passed the first draft of a bill for same-sex marriage. Voices have also been raised for equal marriage in Cuba, Nepal and Vietnam.
There was more progress at the UN, with Thai law professor Vitit Muntarbhorn appointed the UN’s first independent investigator to protect LGBTI people from violence and discrimination, with a mandate to examine violence and discrimination against sexual and gender minorities.
There remain 75 countries and dependent territories that still criminalise same-sex relations – with nearly half of these jurisdictions outlawing both male and female homosexuality. The total increased by one in 2016 when the Chad parliament voted to criminalise same-sex acts for the first time in its history, albeit as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and suspended prison sentence.