Dominica Joins Other Caribbean Islands in Striking Down Laws Prohibiting Gay Sex


A top court in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica has struck down colonial-era laws criminalizing gay sex.

It's the latest nation to repeal such laws in the socially conservative region, joining Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda.

Monday's ruling comes nearly five years after a man whose identity was withheld for his safety challenged Dominica's laws in 2019, saying they violated his constitutional rights. While the laws stemmed from the British colonial period, they were strengthened in 1998, with punishment of up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The man said the laws caused him to "live with great condemnation and fear not only for himself but others who are a part of the LGBT community in Dominica," according to Human Dignity Trust, a London-based nonprofit.

"There are now only five countries in the Americas where laws that have been in place since colonial times and that criminalize LGBT people continue to dwell on the statute books," said Téa Braun, the nonprofit's chief executive.

Courts in Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have upheld such laws in recent years, with the rulings under appeal.

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