Last edited: February 14, 2005

Romania Moves to End Discrimination Against Gays

Reuters, June 22, 2001

BUCHAREST — Romania’s government said on Friday it had issued a decree to help end discrimination against gays by advocating the repeal of a law that penalises gays more harshly for sex in public places.

A government statement said the cabinet had "abrogated article 200 that incriminates sexual relations between persons of the same sex in public places."

Parliament must still approve the elimination of the article, which punishes gay sex in public by up to five years in jail. If the decree is approved, homosexual sex in public places would incur the same punishment as heterosexual sex in public — up to two years in prison.

The decree follows repeated suggestions by the Council of Europe on improving human rights.

"The emergency decree is in line with European Union integration criteria and the 1997 resolution of the Council of Europe," the government statement said.

The decision follows a year of calls by gay and lesbian activist groups demanding that the government eliminate any mention of homosexuality in the criminal code.

Adrian Coman, executive manager of Romania’s sole gay rights group, Accept, welcomed the government move and expressed the hope that parliament would endorse the decision.

Figures from the Justice Ministry show that 117 Romanians aree now in jail on charges related to the homosexual portion of the code.

Homosexuality was illegal in Romania from 1968 to 1996 when it was legalised by parliament .

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