The may become a popular holiday destination for the LGBT community with the amendment of the law this week.
The Parliament of the Seychelles passed this week the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The amendment of section 151 of the Penal Code decriminalises homosexuality.
The Attorney General of the Seychelles, Ronny Govinden, said, "This amendment will just decriminalize homosexuality in Seychelles."
In the past, being gay in this African island was punishable by 14 years in jail. However legal protection against discrimination, in the form of the Employment Act, has ironically been in place for citizens since 1995. To explain how this played out in reality, the situation in the Seychelles was that there were no gay bars or clubs, but there were discreet hotels and guest houses where one could relax with other holiday makers. In short, no one was really charged with being gay. Yet with the new amendment, there should be a gradual reduction in discrimination against the LGBT community in the Seychelles, as has been the case in various other countries when homosexuality was decriminalised.
Gabriele Giambrone, the Managing Partner of Gay Lawyers, was lucky enough to visit the Seychelles 3 years ago and is quoted as saying, "I could not believe that homosexuality was still illegal, a leftover from the days of Empire, that the government of the Seychelles had not quite got around to changing."
Section 151 of the country's Penal Code stated that, 'a man who has sex with a man "against the order of nature" can be jailed for up to fourteen years.'
The news of the country's decriminalisation of homosexuality came on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia and is good news for worldwide LGBT rights.
The country's Attorney General Ronny Govinden was reported as saying, "It is a priority for the country (to decriminalise homosexuality) because whenever the Seychelles is participating in an international convention... we face pressures from other countries who are asking us to remove this law."
Tourism is important to the Seychelles, making up 20% of the country's GDP. This will only increase as more members of the LGBT community consider the Seychelles as a holiday destination.
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