LGBT rights in Honduras

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Honduras (orthographic projection).svg
StatusLegal since 1899
Gender identityNo
MilitaryNo
Discrimination protectionsSexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNone
RestrictionsSame-sex marriage and de facto unions prohibited by Constitution
AdoptionProhibited by Constitution

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Honduras may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Honduras.[1]

Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples. Same-sex marriages, de facto unions and adoption by same-sex couples have been constitutionally banned since 2005. Nevertheless, Honduras is legally bound to the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling, which held that same-sex marriage is a human right protected by the American Convention on Human Rights.[2] Discrimination against LGBT people is illegal in Honduras under Article 321 of the Penal Code.[3]

Similarly to neighbouring El Salvador, LGBT people face high rates of violence and homicide. 264 LGBT people, of whom approximately half were gay men, were murdered in the country between 2009 and 2017.[4]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1899, provided that it involves the consent of individuals 15 years of age or more, the same as for heterosexual sex.[1][5]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Homosexuality laws in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Country subject to IACHR ruling
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but law not enforced

Same-sex unions are not legally recognized in Honduras. In 2005, the Constitution was amended to expressly ban marriage and de facto unions between people of the same sex.[6] The constitutional amendment also refuses to recognize same-sex marriages or unions that occurred legally in other countries (Article 112). It also prohibits same-sex couples from adopting (Article 116).[7][8]

Before the November 2017 elections, three candidates for the Francisco Morazán Department from the National Party and the Christian Democratic Party announced their support for same-sex marriage, adding that they would be open to introducing a same-sex marriage bill to the National Congress.[9] None of the three candidates won a seat in the National Congress.[10]

On 12 October 2018, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández told reporters at a press conference: "Personally as a Christian, I am against marriage of persons of the same sex; obviously, it is the judiciary that, according to Honduran law, has to rule on it. [Regardless of sexual preferences] people should be treated with dignity, no matter what their inclination. People should be treated with dignity and this issue is very important."[11]

2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling[edit]

In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights mandates and requires the recognition of same-sex marriage. The ruling was fully binding on Costa Rica and sets a binding precedent for other Latin American and Caribbean countries including Honduras.[2]

In May 2018, relying on the IACHR ruling (see above), Honduran LGBT activists filed a suit with the Supreme Court to legalise same-sex marriage in Honduras.[12] A second case was filed shortly thereafter but was dismissed due to technical errors in November 2018.[13] The first case remains pending. In February 2019, it was reported that the Supreme Court was expected to rule on the case within "the next few days," but was later announced in May 2019 that they were "expected to rule later this year" on both same-sex marriage and adoption.[14][15]

Discrimination protections[edit]

In 2013, the National Congress adopted several amendments to the Penal Code, through Decree No. 23-2013 (Spanish: Decreto No. 23-2013),[16] including the following:

  • Article 27 on the aggravating circumstances of criminal responsibility, adding "Committing a crime due to hatred or contempt because of sex, gender, religion, national origin, belonging to indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, marital status or disability, ideology or political views of the victim."[17]
  • Article 321, as follows: "Shall be punished with imprisonment of three (3) to five (5) years and a fine of four (4) to seven (7) minimum wages, the person who arbitrarily and illegally blocks, restricts, reduces, prevents or defeats the exercise of individual and collective rights or denies the provision of a professional service based on sex, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, party membership or political opinion, marital status, belonging to indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, community language, language, nationality, religion, affiliation or economic family status, different abilities or disabilities, health conditions, physical appearance or any other distinction that violates the human dignity of the victim."[17]
  • Article 321-A that states: "Whoever publicly or through the media or public broadcasting, incites to discrimination, hatred, contempt, persecution or any form of violence or attacks against a person, group or association, foundations, corporations, non-governmental organizations, for any of the causes listed in the previous article shall be imposed a penalty of three (3) to five (5) years' imprisonment and a fine of fifty thousand lempiras (L.50,000.00) to three hundred thousand lempiras (L. 300,000.00).".[17]

In March 2017, the newly enacted Penal Code came into effect.[18][19] It was reported that several LGBT rights groups had been received in Congress to dispel doubts of the wording of some articles, and to ensure that Articles 321 and 321-A remain in force.[20] The anti-discrimination articles were ultimately kept.[21]

LGBT rights movement in Honduras[edit]

The Constitution stipulates that citizens have the right to establish and associate with political parties and interest groups, though initial efforts to register an LGBT rights group in the 1980s were met with government opposition or extended delays. The first LGBT rights organizations arose in the 1980s anyway, often in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Such organizations had no legal standing at the time and were essentially ignored by the Government, except for police harassment.

In 2004, the Honduran Government extended formal recognition to three LGBT rights interest groups, despite organized protests from the Catholic Church, Evangelical groups, and conservative legislators.[7]

The two major political parties have not expressed much support for expanding LGBT rights, and have mostly ignored the topic. Only a handful of dissident members within the leftist Democratic Unification Party have expressed some interest in working with the LGBT community.[7]

Social conditions[edit]

In Honduras, there is a social environment of historical discrimination against LGBT persons motivated by prejudice and machismo. The 2001 Law on Police and Social Affairs (Spanish: Ley de Policía y Convivencial Social) gives the police permission to raid city streets, entrap sex workers as part of "sanitation control" and arrest anyone who "goes against modesty, proper conduct and public morals." LGBT rights organizations have documented numerous instances in which police have used the law as a pretext for harassing and detaining transgender women.[7][22]

A transgender woman ran in the 2017 elections as a candidate for the Innovation and Unity Party.[23] Her run was ultimately unsuccessful.[24] She received 11,112 votes, placing 136th. The National Congress has 128 seats.

About 400 people marched in a pride parade in July 2017 in the city of San Pedro Sula, considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world.[25]

Anti-LGBT violence[edit]

In December 2014, LGBT rights group Red Lésbica Cattrachas reported that from 2009 to 2014, 174 violent deaths of LGBT persons were registered in the country (90 gays, 15 lesbians, and 69 transgender people), primarily in the departments of Cortés and Francisco Morazán.[26]

In previous years, it was reported that possibly as many as 200 Hondurans might have been killed because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity between 1993–2003.[7]

International human rights organizations have stated that the military Government has targeted LGBT people for harassment, abuse and murder.[7]

In June 2013, a transsexual woman was given asylum in Spain after a police officer had tried to assassinate her in Honduras.[27]

Walter Tróchez, a Honduran political activist and LGBT rights leader, was allegedly assassinated on December 13, 2009, by members of the anti-Zelaya regime for organizing dissent against the new Government.[28]

Another visible LGBT Honduran activist and Zelayista, Erick Martínez Ávila, was murdered on 7 May 2012 on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa.

HIV/AIDS[edit]

The socially conservative influence of the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestants has made it difficult for any comprehensive public program to be implemented. Female prostitutes and men who have sex with men are seen as the highest risk groups. The Government does offer medical care to all citizens and has been increasingly working with non-governmental organizations to raise awareness.

Public opinion[edit]

According to a Pew Research Center survey, conducted between 9 November and 19 December 2013, 13% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, 83% were opposed.[29][30]

The 2017 AmericasBarometer showed that 21% of Hondurans supported same-sex marriage.[31]

A 2018 CID Gallup poll found that 75% of Hondurans opposed same-sex marriage, 17% were in support, and the rest didn't know or refused to answer.[12]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes check.svg (Since 1899)
Equal age of consent (15) Yes check.svg
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Hate crimes laws include sexual orientation and gender identity Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Same-sex marriages X mark.svg (Constitutional ban since 2005, court ruling pending)
Recognition of same-sex couples X mark.svg (Constitutional ban on de facto unions since 2005)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples X mark.svg (Constitutional ban since 2005)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples X mark.svg (Constitutional ban since 2005)
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military X mark.svg
Right to change legal gender X mark.svg
Access to IVF for lesbians X mark.svg
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples X mark.svg
MSMs allowed to donate blood X mark.svg

See also[edit]

General:

References[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 2012 :page: 12 & 14 Archived 21 December 2012 at WebCite
  2. ^ a b "Inter-American Court endorses same-sex marriage". Agence France-Presse. Yahoo7. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  3. ^ Congreso contempla reforma al Código Penal por caso del pastor Evelio Reyes
  4. ^ 'Terrorized at home', Central America's LGBT people to flee for their lives: report
  5. ^ "The age of consent in Honduras", Born in Honduras, 28 February 2011
  6. ^ University of Toronto - Faculty of Law (2011). "Honduras: Country Report for use in refugee claims based on persecution relating to sexual orientation and gender identity" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Gay Honduras News & Reports
  8. ^ "Honduras: Constitución de 1982". pdba.georgetown.edu.
  9. ^ (in Spanish) Para compartir esta nota utiliza los íconos que aparecen en el sitio.
  10. ^ (in Spanish) Estos son los 128 diputados que conforman el Congreso Nacional (2018-2022)
  11. ^ (in Spanish) Presidente hondureño en desacuerdo con matrimonio de personas del mismo sexo
  12. ^ a b (in Spanish) Más del 70% de los hondureños rechaza el matrimonio homosexual
  13. ^ (in Spanish) Communidad gay en batalla legal por matrimonio igualitario en Honduras
  14. ^ "Sala de lo Constitucional admite nuevo recurso que permita matrimonio gay". Proceso Digital (in Spanish). 6 February 2019.
  15. ^ Postema, Mirte (23 May 2019). "LGBT Hondurans March Against Hate: Activists Call for Gender Identity Law, Equal Marriage, Adoption". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Honduras reforms its penal code to end human right violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity". UNAIDS. 5 April 2013.
  17. ^ a b c Honduras – Discriminación – Decreto 23/2013
  18. ^ "CN comienza a aprobar en primer debate proyecto de nuevo Código Penal para Honduras". Congreso Nacional de Honduras. 26 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Seis meses podría tardar la aprobación de Código Penal". Diario el Heraldo Honduras. 18 May 2016.
  20. ^ "LGTB piden que código penal respete normativa internacional" (in Spanish). 23 May 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  21. ^ (in Spanish) Código Penal de Honduras
  22. ^ "Not worth a penny: Human rights abuses against transgender people in Honduras" (PDF). May 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  23. ^ Transgender woman running for Honduras congress The Washington Blade, 25 September 2017
  24. ^ Polémica candidatura de Rihanna Ferrera no logró un lugar en el Congreso Nacional
  25. ^ Activists in violence-plagued Honduras city hold Pride parade The Washington Blade, 17 July 2017
  26. ^ "Preliminary Observations concerning the Human Rights Situation in Honduras". December 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  27. ^ (in Spanish) Transexual hondureña recibe asilo en España tras intento de asesinato
  28. ^ "Honduras: Full and prompt investigation needed into death of human rights campaigner", Amnesty International, 14 December 2009
  29. ^ Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
  30. ^ Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology
  31. ^ (in Spanish) CULTURA POLÍTICA DE LA DEMOCRACIA EN LA REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA Y EN LAS AMÉRICAS, 2016/17