LGBT rights in Honduras

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LGBT rights in Honduras
Honduras (orthographic projection).svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1899
Gender identity/expression Unknown
Military service No
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage and de facto unions prohibited by constitution
Adoption Prohibited 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 is 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. Both same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples have been constitutionally banned since 2005. Discrimination against LGBT people is illegal in Honduras under Article 321 of the Penal Code.[2]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity is legal provided that it involves consenting individuals fifteen years of age or older in private, the same as for heterosexual sex.[1][3]

Recognition of same-sex unions[edit]

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.[4] 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).[5][6]

Discrimination protections[edit]

In 2013, the National Congress adopted several amendments to the Criminal Code (Decree No. 23-2013),[7] 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."[8]
  • 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.".[8]
  • 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).".[8]

Currently in 2016, a new Penal Code has been drafted and is pending within the National Congress.[9][10] It has been reported that several LGBT rights groups have been received in Congress to dispel doubts in the wording of some articles, and to ensure that Articles 321 and 321-A remain in force.[11]

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 the 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 Protests, and conservative legislators.[5]

The two major political parties have not expressed any support for expanding LGBT rights. Only a handful of dissident members within the leftist Democratic Unification Party have expressed some interest in working with the LGBT community.[5]

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 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.[5][12]

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 trans persons), primarily in the departments of Cortés and Francisco Morazán.[13]

In previous years, it was reported that possibly as many as 200 Honduras people may have been killed because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity between 1993–2003.[5]

International human rights organizations have stated that LGBT people have been targeted by the military government for harassment, abuse and murder.[5]

In June 2013, a transsexual woman was given asylum in Spain after a police officer tried to assassinate her.[14]

Walter Trochez, 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.[15]


The socially conservative influence of the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestants has made it difficult for any sort of 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 Pew Research Center survey, conducted between November 9 and December 19, 2013, 13% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, 83% were opposed.[16][17]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes Since 1899
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes Since 2013
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes Since 2013
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes Since 2013
Hate crimes laws include sexual orientation and gender identity Yes Since 2013
Same-sex marriages No Constitutional ban since 2005
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No Constitutional ban since 2005
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood Emblem-question.svg

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 2012 :page: 12 & 14
  2. ^ Congreso contempla reforma al Código Penal por caso del pastor Evelio Reyes
  3. ^ "The age of consent in Honduras", Born in Honduras, 28 February 2011
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Gay Honduras News & Reports
  6. ^ "Honduras: Constitución de 1982". 
  7. ^ "Honduras reforms its penal code to end human right violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity". UNAIDS. 5 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Honduras – Discriminación – Decreto 23/2013
  9. ^ "CN comienza a aprobar en primer debate proyecto de nuevo Código Penal para Honduras". Congreso Nacional de Honduras. 26 April 2016. 
  10. ^ "Seis meses podría tardar la aprobación de Código Penal". Diario el Heraldo Honduras. 18 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "LGTB piden que código penal respete normativa internacional" (in Spanish). 23 May 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "Not worth a penny: Human rights abuses against transgender people in Honduras" (PDF). May 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  13. ^ "Preliminary Observations concerning the Human Rights Situation in Honduras". December 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  14. ^ (in Spanish) Transexual hondureña recibe asilo en España tras intento de asesinato
  15. ^ "Honduras: Full and prompt investigation needed into death of human rights campaigner", Amnesty International, 14 December 2009
  16. ^ Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
  17. ^ Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology