LGBT rights in Nicaragua

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LGBT rights in Nicaragua
Nicaragua (orthographic projection).svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 2008[1]
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation only (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No
Adoption No[2]

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Nicaragua may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Nicaragua. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in certain areas, including in employment and access to health services.

According to Nicaraguan LGBT group Movimiento de la Diversidad Sexual (Movement of Sexual Diversity), there are approximately 600,000 gays living in Nicaragua.[2]

Issues[edit]

Legality of same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Nicaragua since March 2008. The age of consent is 16, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, and all sexual offenses are gender-neutral, according to the articles of the Criminal Code of Nicaragua 168, 170, 172 and 175.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal benefits and protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

In June 2014, the Nicaraguan Congress approved a revised family code that would limit marriage, partnerships and adoption to heterosexual couples. On 8 April 2015, Nicaragua's new Family Code went into effect.[2] Several organizations filed an action of unconstitutionality against the Family Code.

Discrimination protections[edit]

LGBT flag map of Nicaragua

According to Article 36(5) of the Penal Code, an aggravating circumstance exists when a person is motivated by discrimination based on sexual orientation while committing a criminal offense.[4]

Article 315 of the Penal Code on "offenses against labor rights," states that discrimination based on sexual option, is punishable with up to one year in prison.[5]

Article 3(l) of Law 820 (Law on HIV and AIDS) prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (among other grounds).[6]

Article 1 of Ministerial Resolution 671-2014 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in access to health services.[7][8]

Social conditions[edit]

Gay men are generally more visible in public than lesbians are.[9] When lesbians socialize with each other, it often happens in private residences or other private places.[9]

LGBT history in Nicaragua[edit]

Many LGBT Nicaraguans held prominent roles during the Sandinista Revolution; however, LGBT rights were not a priority to the Sandinista Government because the majority of the population were Roman Catholic. Protecting those rights was also considered politically risky and bound to be met with hostility from the Roman Catholic Church, which already had bad relations with the Government.[9] On the tenth anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution (1989), many community centers were launched for LGBT people. The centers began to form after a march by activists that took place in Managua.[9]

After the United States lifted the economic embargo against Nicaragua, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting LGBT rights began to operate in the country. As a result, Nicaragua hosted its first public gay pride festival in 1991.[9] The annual Gay Pride celebration in Managua, held around 28 June, still happens and is used to commemorate the uprising of the Stonewall riots in New York City.[10]

After gaining support, the LGBT community suffered a setback when a bill formerly written to protect women from rape and sexual abuse was changed by social Christians in the National Assembly.[9] The change imposed a sentence of up to three years in prison for "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes, or practices sex among persons of the same sex in a scandalous manner." It also included any unmarried sex acts. Activists and their allies protested in Nicaragua and at embassies abroad; however, President Violeta Chamorro signed the bill into a law in July 1992 as Article 204 of the Nicaragua Criminal Code.[11]

In November 1992, a coalition known as the Campaign for Sexuality without Prejudices, composed of lawyers, lesbians, and gay activists, among others, presented an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice challenging the law as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in March 1994.[12] On 1 March 2008, a new Penal Code took effect. It omitted the language in now-repealed Article 204 and, by doing so, decriminalized sex out of wedlock and gay sex as well between consenting adults.[13]

United Nations[edit]

Since legalizing homosexuality in 2008, Nicaragua has been active on the international level in supporting LGBT rights. In 2011, Nicaragua signed the "joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.[14]

The Nicaraguan Government has also urged countries to repeal their sodomy bans, including Antigua and Barbuda.[15]

Public opinion[edit]

According to Pew Research Center survey, conducted between 9 November and 13 December 2013, 77% of Nicaraguans opposed same-sex marriage, 16% were in favor and 7% didn't know.[16][17]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 2008)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2008)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2008)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in other areas Yes (Since 2008)
Same-sex marriage No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
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
MSMs allowed to donate blood Emblem-question.svg

See also[edit]

References[edit]