Criminalising Homosexuality and the Rule of Law

This briefing note looks at the criminalisation of private, consensual same-sex sexual activity through the prism of the rule of law, demonstrating how criminalisation is contrary to this principle.

A series of ground-breaking briefing notes were produced by the Human Dignity Trust in the second half of 2015. These notes aim to illustrate the link between the criminalisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and various aspects of good governance. They also offer information and guidance to governments, the international community, civil society and activists on how to bring about the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual activity across the globe. This research draws on our experience working with activists in criminalising countries and our expertise in international human rights law. They were produced in consultation with leading academics in each of the areas addressed.

The rule of law is integral to ensure equal respect for human dignity in any society. The criminalisation of same-sex sexual relations contravenes the rule of law, democracy and human rights. This briefing note highlights how criminalisation cuts against the rule of law as a pillar of a fair and accountable society. It outlines the meaning of the rule of law and how criminalisation goes against this principle.

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