Lawmakers in Gabon’s lower house of parliament voted to decriminalise homosexuality, becoming one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to reverse a law that punishes sexual relations between people of the same sex.
Forty-eight members of Senate backed the proposed initiative by the government to revise an article of the 2019 law that criminalised homosexuality. Twenty-four voted against, while 25 others abstained.
The legislation has not gone down well with a core section of the largely religious Gabonese society with reports indicating that prominent politicians, religious leaders and a cross section of the public have denounced the legislation, describing it as a change designed to appease foreign donors.
The ball is now in the court of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose ratification will make the bill law in the central African country. Gabon will join a handful of African countries to legally allow homosexuality.