LGBT rights in Vatican City

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LGBT rights in Vatican City
Location Vatican City Europe.png
Location of  LGBT rights in Vatican City  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal
Gender identity/expression (see below)
Discrimination protections None
Family rights
Recognition of

The legal code regarding homosexuality in the Vatican City is based on the Italian penal code of 1929, the time of the founding of the sovereign state of the Vatican City. However, it was announced in late 2008 that the Vatican "will no longer automatically adopt new Italian laws as its own", as a top Vatican official said, citing the vast number of laws Italy churns out, many of which are at odds with Catholic doctrine".[1]

Criminal law[edit]

There are no criminal laws against non-commercial, private, adult and consensual same-sex sexual activity. The age of consent is 17 years old.

The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church which represents the present Catholic Doctrine recommends a trial for those who engage in same sex sexual activity.[2] On December 18, 2008, the Vatican, but not the Papacy which governs, heeded into pressure from the United Nation and formally endorsed the decriminalization of same-sex sexual activity, despite expressing opposition to such decriminalization a month prior.[3]

Civil rights[edit]

Vatican City State does not have any civil rights provisions that include sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church recommends no discrimination for homosexuals.[2]

LGBT people are not officially banned from living or visiting the Vatican City State, but public displays of affection or public advocacy for LGBT rights are frowned upon within the Vatican City State.

Transgender issues[edit]

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness."[4]

In 2000, the Holy See took the official position that transsexual people remain the same sex they were born with, and transsexualism is a mental disorder. However, the Vatican stated that "[a transgender] procedure could be morally acceptable in certain extreme cases if a medical probability exists that it will "cure" the patient's internal turmoil."[5]


There are no known cases of AIDS or HIV infection in Vatican City. Internationally, the Vatican government has been a leading opponent of the use of condoms as part of any campaign to stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.[6] In 2006, the Holy See said it was conducting a scientific and moral study on the use of condoms in the fight against the pandemic.[7]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1890)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1890)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriage No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Has no military
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. ^ Vatican ends automatic adoption of Italian law. Reuters. Retrieved on 26 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1], Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part One, Section Two, Chapter One, Article One, Paragraph Six, #369.
  5. ^ Catholic News Service, Vatican says 'sex-change' operation does not change person's gender
  6. ^ Condoms and the Vatican | FP Passport. (21 November 2006). Retrieved on 26 October 2010.
  7. ^ Vatican Studying Condoms and AIDS. (25 April 2006). Retrieved on 26 October 2010.