Romania Moves To Remove Last Anti-Gay Law
By Jon Ben Asher
Newscenter in London, June 23, 2001
LondonThe Romanian government, rushing to bring its legal system into
harmony with the European Union has announced it will remove the last anti-gay
law in the penal code.
In the past five years the country has moved to end most prohibitions
against homosexuality. The last law on the books penalizes gays more harshly
for sex in public places.
Friday, the government said the cabinet had "abrogated article 200
that incriminates sexual relations between persons of the same sex in public
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 publicup to two years in prison.
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 Romanias 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 are 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 legalized by parliament.
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