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Bhutan Has Voted To Make Gay Sex No Longer Illegal

Bhutan’s government has approved a bill to decriminalize gay sex, making it the latest country in Asia to reform restrictive laws against LGBT people.

In a joint sitting of both houses of the Bhutan’s parliament on Thursday Dec. 10, 63 out of 69 members voted to amend two sections of the penal code that criminalized “unnatural sex”, which was widely interpreted as gay sex. The other six members were absent.

“Homosexuality will not be considered as unnatural sex now,” a lawmaker told Reuters by phone. The decision was celebrated by members of the LGBT community in Bhutan, and the bill will now go to the King of Bhutan for approval before it becomes law.

It is the latest country in Asia to take steps to ensure the rights of LGBT people, with India striking down a ban on gay sex in 2018, Taiwan legalizing same-sex marriage in 2019, Nepal moving to include LGBT people in its census next year, and Thailand approving a draft bill that will give same-sex unions many of the same benefits as the ones in heterosexual marriage in July.

Bhutan is famous for measuring its prosperity by gauging its citizens’ happiness levels, using a “gross national happiness” index, rather than the GDP.

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