Last edited: February 14, 2005

Romania Moves To Remove Last Anti-Gay Law

By Jon Ben Asher Newscenter in London, June 23, 2001

London—The 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 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 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 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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