Last Sodomy Ban in Europe Repealed

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was last European territory to outlaw homosexual acts

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The last remaining prohibition against sodomy in Europe was repealed Monday by lawmakers in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The bill passed with 28 votes in favor of an amendment that repealed the law punishing homosexual acts with up to five years in jail, The Guardian reports. There were 21 abstentions and one in opposition. It is due to be sent to the territory’s President Derviş Eroğlu, who is expected to sign the reform. Euronews reports that he has to sign the law within 15 days.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s Europe division celebrated the news in a statement: “It took Europe 33 years to completely free the continent from these unjust and discriminatory laws,” said Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board. “We welcome today’s vote and can finally call Europe a continent completely free from laws criminalizing homosexuality.”

Cyprus, a former British colony, is divided into Greek and Turkish sections. The country legalized consensual gay sex between adults in 1993 after a human rights court ruling, but the division between the Greek and Turkish parts of the island meant colonial-era laws remained in place in the North.