LGBT rights in Kosovo

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LGBT rights in Kosovo
Europe-Republic of Kosovo.svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1858 when part of the Ottoman Empire, again in 1994 as part of Yugoslavia. [1]
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons 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 Any single person allowed to adopt.[2][3]

With the adaption of the new constitution, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Kosovo have been heavily improved on 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.[4]

The Government of Kosovo has been a supportive structure of the LGBT community in Kosovo.[5] In late 2013, the parliament passed a bill to create a coordinating group for the LGBT community.[6] Many politicians have voiced their support for the LGBT movement, including the former Prime Minister and current Minister of Foreign Affairs Hashim Thaçi,[7][8] Prime Minister Isa Mustafa,[9] Chairman of the Assembly of Kosovo Kadri Veseli,[10] Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Petrit Selimi,[11][12] Vlora Çitaku,[13][14] Mimoza Kusari-Lila[15] and others.

Although no major LGBT event has been held in Kosovo so far, on 17 May 2014, well-known politicians, including the British Ambassador to Kosovo, Ian Cliff and local LGBT organizations like QESh and CEL took to the streets of Pristina to march against homophobia.[16][17] The event was welcomed by the European Union office in Kosovo,[18] and the government itself. A big LGBT flag covered the front side of the government building that night.[19]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]


The Yugoslav Criminal Code of 1929 banned "lewdness against the order of nature" (anal intercourse) between human beings. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia also restricted the offense to same-sex anal intercourse, with a maximum sentence reduced from 2 to 1 year imprisonment in 1959.[20]

In 1994, male same-sex sexual intercourse became legal in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija in 1994 as a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[21]

UNMIK period[edit]

In 2004, an equal age of consent of 14 regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender and all sexual offences became gender-neutral.[1]

Since independence[edit]

Same-sex sexual intercourse is legal in the Republic of Kosovo.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

The LGBT flag on the Government building in Prishtina on 17 May 2014.

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."[4]

In 2014, the President of the Constitutional Court has said that Kosovo de jure allows same-sex marriage.,[22] but due to the ongoing governmental crisis in Kosovo, this issue is still unclear. Article 144(3) of the constitution of Kosovo requires the Constitutional Court to OK any amendments to the constitution as to ensure they do not infringe upon the civil rights guaranteed by it previously, making a Proposition 8 like situation unlikely to occur.

Military service[edit]

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

Discrimination protection[edit]

Article 24 of the Constitution of Kosovo bans discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.[4] 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.[23]

Kosovo LGBT rights group the Center for Social Emancipation describes gay life in Kosovo as being "underground" [24] Gay clubs do not exist in Kosovo and LGBT life remains underground.[25]

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 1971)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1994)
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 lesbian allowed to serve openly in the military Yes
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Same-sex marriages No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
Right to change legal gender Yes
Homosexuality declassified as an illness Yes (Since 2006)
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes (Since 2002)

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. ^ "Adoption Laws in Kosovo: Unmarried persons". State portal of the Republic of Kosovo. Constitution of Kosovo. 
  3. ^ "Adoption in Kosovo (Report) - Page 6". OSCE Mission in Kosovo. 
  4. ^ a b c Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
  5. ^ "Qeveria merr në mbrojtje komunitetin LGBT". 
  6. ^ "Qeveria formon trupë këshilluese e koordinuese për komunitetin LGBT". 
  7. ^ "LGBT Speeches". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kosovo). 
  8. ^ "Thaçi: Të Gjithë Kryetarët Do T'i Respektojnë Ligjet e Kosovës". Gazeta Jeta në Kosovë. 
  9. ^ "Kosovë, qeveria miraton ligjet për mbrojtjen e të drejtave dhe lirive". Top Channel. 
  10. ^ "Kadri Veseli: Komuniteti LGBT të dalë nga nëntoka". 
  11. ^ "Petrit Selimi: Serbia and Kosovo: LGBT* rights and the footnote". Balkanorg. 
  12. ^ "Petrit Selimi (twitter)". 
  13. ^ "Petrit Selimi, Vlora Citaku support". 
  14. ^ "Çitaku në përkrahje të komunitetit LGBT". Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  15. ^ "Mimoza Kusari Lila - end homophobia". Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Marsh kundër homofobisë". 
  17. ^ "Komuniteti LGBT është i dukshëm dhe pjesë e shoqërisë kosovare". Zëri. 
  18. ^ "Press release: European Union in Kosovo: March against homophobia". European Union Office in Kosovo. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Flamuri i LGBT'së në ndërtesën e Qeverisë së Kosovës". Gazeta Express. 
  21. ^ The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us
  22. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Kosovo?". Human Rights Campaign. 12 September 2014. 
  23. ^ Law 2004/3: The Anti-Discrimination Law, UNMIK
  24. ^ "Center for Social Emancipation". Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2009. 
  25. ^ Lone Gay Bar’s Closure Leaves Kosovo Gays Bereft

External links[edit]