Homosexuality in Macau

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There are no laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, despite recent legislative developments. There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

The general age of consent for homosexual sex, as well as heterosexual, is 16 years.

According to "Penal Code of Macau" Article 166, committing anal coitus with whomever under the age of 14 is a crime and shall be punished by imprisonment between 3 and up 10 years. If anal coitus is committed with someone 14 to 16 years old, taking advantage of his/her inexperience, is a crime punished with a prison term up to 4 years.

The Penal Code of Macau does not have homosexual or buggery defined, hence there is no offense or fines for such acts. Thus, anal sex with a minor is more severely punished irrespective of being homosexual or heterosexual sex.

Anti-discrimination laws[edit]

The Basic Law of Macau's Article 25 indicates the people of Macau are free from discrimination based on a non-exhaustive list of prohibited factors. Sexual orientation is not included in such list of prohibited discrimination grounds. However, there are anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation in the fields of labour relations (article 6/2 of Law 7/2008), protection of personal data (article 7/1,2 of Law 8/2005) and ombudsman (article 31-A of Law 10/2000, as amended by Law 4/2012).

Macau has no general bill of rights and there are no express penalties for discriminatory treatment of gay persons.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Same-sex marriage or civil unions are not currently recognised in Macau.

In March 2013, Mr. Pereira Coutinho, a Member of Parliement, submitted a bill to the Legislative Assembly to recognize same-sex civil unions, granting them the same rights as heterosexual couples, except the right to adopt. The bill was rejected with the sole vote of Mr Coutinho in favor, 4 abstentions and 17 votes against.

LGBT rights activism and culture[edit]

In late 2012 it was announced the creation of the Macau LGBT Rights Concern Group, led by openly gay politician Mr. Jason Chao. Since the creation of the Concern Group it has had an active presence in local media advocating for LGBT rights, namely the inclusion of gay couples in the domestic violence bill and the recognition of same-sex marriage or civil unions. In April 2013 was created the association "Rainbow of Macau", a new group striving to protect the rights of Macau's LGBT community. The Rainbow of Macau is the city's first gay rights group officially registered and is led by Mr Anthony Lam Ka Long.

Despite the surge in LGBT activism, gay culture in Macau remains mostly invisible. However, the lesbian themed movie "I'm here", directed by Tracy Choi, won the Macau Indies 2012 Jury's Award at the Macau International Film and Video Festival 2012 (MIFVF). According to the newspaper Macau Daily Times, "the movie depicts the problems that homosexuals face in their daily life, especially when living in a small town" like Macau.

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1996)
Equal age of consent Yes (since 1996)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment & the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in indirect discrimination and hate speech No
Anti-discrimination laws in other areas (Labour relations, protection of personal data and ombudsman) Yes (since 2000-2008 respectively)
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. civil partnerships) No
Adoption by a single LGBT person Yes
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg (China responsible for defense)
Right to change legal gender Emblem-question.svg
Access to IVF for lesbians Emblem-question.svg
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Emblem-question.svg


See also[edit]