Anti-LGBT Laws Around The World, From No-Promo To Death Sentences

Which countries have laws in place against homosexuality, and how extreme are they? 

Update 2/28/2014: Uganda signs new bill increasing severity of existing anti-gay laws.

On February 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the nation’s harshest bill yet, introducing a penalty of life in prison for convictions of gay sex or same-sex marriage, the BBC says.

This bill also forbids anything perceived as promotional of homosexuality, and covers lesbians for the first time under its legislation.

Due to this controversy, the World Bank has suspended a $90m loan, with several European nations freezing or postponing aid as well, according to Aljazeera.

Scotland has even gone a step further by offering political asylum to any Gay Ugandans under threat of persecution.

As we’ve written about before, same-sex marriage has been legalized in 17 U.S. states and 16 nations. Even so, many other areas of the world have laws in place actively banning and punishing not just same-sex marriage, but homosexuality in general – or the promotion thereof.

Here’s the word on anti-homosexuality laws around the world, ranging from non-promotional bills to death sentences.


Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 3.30.26 PM
Map and key from Wikipedia.


Russia recently passed a bill banning all forms of “gay propaganda” – or basically any mention of homosexuality – creating controversy over the 2014 Winter Olympics location in Sochi, which we explain in detail here.

It may be surprising to some that there are U.S. states with laws that prevent promotion of homosexuality as well – nine, to be exact, when counting North Carolina’s “pro-hetero” bill.

Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah all have variations of legislation some call “no promo homo” laws, which impose limitations on how educators may talk about homosexuality, often explicitly banning the advocacy of homosexual sex, emphasizing it as “unhealthy” and “unacceptable,” and referring back to past laws against it.

Though it’s true that anti-sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional in 2003, in 13 American states they have inexplicably remained on the books, resulting in various unprecedented arrests in recent years.

Punishable by imprisonment or fines

According to a report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, homosexual acts are currently illegal in 76 countries.

They are also de facto illegal in Iraq, where self-appointed sharia judges have reportedly imposed sentences despite there being no laws against homosexuality.

According to the Guardian, anti-LGBT laws are worsening in some of these nations, such as Nigeria, where same-sex marriage was recently made punishable by 14 years in prison, and Uganda, where a bill was passed in 2013 punishing homosexuality with a life sentence, and signed on 2/24/14.

Punishable by death

Homosexuality is even today punishable by death some countries: Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and some regions of Yemen, according to the Daily Beast.

Some of these countries, which are all in either Africa or the Middle East, retain these laws from British colonization – even when many other outdated laws have been repealed.

Though it’s true that some parts of the world are moving toward tolerance, the extremity of these laws, wherever they may be, make it clear that there is still a long way to go.

What are your thoughts on anti-homosexuality laws around the globe? Tweet us @curiousmatic.

Jennifer Markert