In a historic move, the upper parliamentary Chamber of Gabon voted to have homosexuality decriminalized. This came just one week after the lower parliament voted the same way.
The bill is now awaiting the signature of the Gabon President His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, to officially be passed into law. The journey to decriminalize homosexuality in Gabon has not been an easy ride with twenty-four legislators in the lower house, on Tuesday, voting against the bill, twenty-five abstaining from the vote and leaving forty-eight who voted in favor of legalizing homosexuality.
This majority pushed the bill to the upper house where it garnered a whopping 51 votes in support, 17 senators voted against and four chose to not vote.
It should be remembered that Gabon had less than a year ago criminalized homosexuality in their newly adopted penal code, which explains the shock and excitement at the sudden turn of events.
Activists and the LGBTIQ community across the African continent welcomed this landmark decision with jubilation as Gabon joined a handful of African states that have already treaded this territory.
Taking to Twitter the Gabon First Lady also joined in celebration as she shared her joy. “Parliament is restoring a fundamental human right for its citizens; that of loving, freely, without being condemned. The republic defends respect for everyone’s privacy and remains one and indivisible beyond feelings.”
While homosexuality has been decriminalized, same sex marriage remains a crime in Gabon and is thought to be high on the priority list for the LGBT community in the country.