LGBT rights in Kosovo

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LGBT rights in Kosovo
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1994[1]
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons not allowed to change legal gender
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption No joint adoption by same-sex couples

With the adaption of the new constitution, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Kosovo have been heavily improved in paper, making it one of the most liberal constitutions in the region and Europe, banning discrimination exclusively on 'sexual orientation'. However, the law enforcement on banning the discrimination based on sexual orientation remains weak. [2]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity became legal in Kosovo in 1994 as a part of Serbia and Montenegro. In 2004, an equal age of consent of 14 regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender and all sexual offences became gender-neutral.[1]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

While Kosovo's Constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and says that "[...] everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family as provided by law"[2] (which the President of the Constitutional Court has said allows same-sex marriage[3]), same-sex marriage is effectively banned by Article 14(1) of the Family Law:

"Marriage is a legally registered community of two persons of different sexes, through which they freely decide to live together with the goal of creating a family."[4]

Military service[edit]

LGBT people are allowed to serve openly in the military. However, due to discrimination, there is no such case known to public.

Discrimination protection[edit]

Article 24 of the Constitution of Kosovo bans discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.[2] Kosovo is thus one of the few states in Europe with a constitutional ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Despite the anti-discrimination Law, the gay community lives a very underground life and little statistics are available about LGBT community in Kosovo.

The Anti-Discrimination Law of 2004, passed by the Kosovo Assembly, bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in a variety of fields, including employment, membership of organisations, education, the provision of goods and services, social security and access to housing. The definition of discrimination in this law explicitly includes direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment, victimisation and segregation.[5]

Kosovo LGBT rights group the Center for Social Emancipation describes gay life in Kosovo as being "underground" [6] Gay clubs do not exist in Kosovo and LGBT life remains underground.[7]

Blood, sperm and organ donation by gay and/or bisexual men became legal in December 2002. Since March 2006, Kosovo no longer classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder.

LGBT rights movement in Kosovo[edit]

There are currently three local LGBT rights organisations in Kosovo; Center for Equality and Liberty, Center for Social Group Development, and Center for Social Emancipation.

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1994)
Equal age of consent Yes (since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (since 2004)
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Yes
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, authored by Lucas Paoli Itaborahy, May 2014
  2. ^ a b c Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
  3. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Kosovo?". Human Rights Campaign. September 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ "LAW NO. 2004/32 FAMILY LAW OF KOSOVO". Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Law 2004/3: The Anti-Discrimination Law, UNMIK
  6. ^ "Center for Social Emancipation". Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  7. ^ Lone Gay Bar’s Closure Leaves Kosovo Gays Bereft

External links[edit]