Press release: European Parliament adopts first ever standalone resolution on universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and trans identities

Strasbourg, 20 April 2023

Yesterday, on 19 April, the European Parliament debated the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and trans identities; the accompanying resolution on the matter was adopted today. The topic was elicited by the recent developments in Uganda concerning the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’, which criminalises homosexuality and consensual same-sex relations[1].

The adoption of the resolution is a landmark moment for universal decriminalisation of homosexuality as outlined in the Articles 24-26[2]. It reinforces the EU’s promotion of universal human rights in foreign policy and ensures that external actions shall be taken to consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law, as outlined in Article 21 TEU. Equally, it unequivocally opposes the use of death penalty or criminalisation based on sexual orientation or gender identity globally.

Pierre Karleskind MEP (Renew Europe), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and proponent of the resolution, comments:

No one should never have to face threats of any kind for being who they are or loving how they love. Laws criminalising homosexuality or transgender identities are contrary to the most fundamental freedoms of the individual. States have no right of any kind on the relationships between consenting and free adults. This is what we, as European Parliament, wanted to make clear. The EU has the tools in its hands to change the situation: trade, diplomacy, international partnership agreements. With today’s vote, the European Parliament shows the way.

Kim van Sparrentak MEP (Greens/EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, concludes:

It is never a crime to love who you love and we in the Parliament reiterated that today by calling on the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality. We stand in solidarity especially with the Ugandan LGBTIQ community that is currently under threat due to this draconian bill. We call unequivocally on President Museveni not to promulgate this heinous bill and to stand on the right side of history.


Background information:

The Ugandan government adopted the ‘Anti-Homosexuality bill’ on 21 March, with only two votes against. If promulgated by President Museveni, this bill would require the application of the death penalty for the offence of ‘aggravated homosexuality’, life imprisonment for the offence of ‘homosexuality’, up to 14 years on ‘attempted homosexuality’ and up to 20 years for ‘promoting’ homosexuality[1]. The bill infringes on international law, such as the UN Charter of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human Rights, both of which Uganda has ratified. The bill is in opposition to adopted EU guidelines on death penalty, LGBTI persons, non-discrimination in external action and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

[1] Human Rights Watch (22 March 2023). “Ugandan Parliament Passes Extreme Anti-LGBT Bill – President Should Reject Bill, Stop Systemic Oppression”. Accessible at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/03/22/ugandan-parliament-passes-extreme-anti-lgbt-bill

[2] Once updated to the website, the text will be available here: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/texts-adopted.html


Press contacts:

Office of Pierre Karleskind – Victor Belaud (Victor.Belaud@europarl.europa.eu)

Office of Kim van Sparrentak – Lowie Kok (Lowie.Kok@europarl.europa.eu)

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