Rights group cheers Bhutan’s move toward legalizing gay sex

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ABOVE: Dzong of Bhutan. (From Wikimedia Commons)

NEW DELHI (AP) | A global rights group welcomed Bhutan’s move June 9 toward becoming the latest South Asian nation to decriminalize homosexuality.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom’s lower house of Parliament voted overwhelmingly on June 7 to repeal provisions that said “unnatural sex” is illegal. The bill still needs to be passed by the upper chamber before being sent for royal assent.

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Brunei to begin punishing gay sex with death by stoning

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ABOVE: Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) | Amnesty International slammed Brunei on March 27 due to the nation’s plans to implement what the rights group called “vicious” Islamic criminal laws such as stoning to death for gay sex and amputation for theft.

Amnesty said in a statement that the new penalties, which also apply to children, are provided for in new sections under Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code and will come into effect April 3. The legal changes were announced in a discreet notice on the attorney general’s website, it said.

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Aceh region bans unmarried couples at same table in cafes

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BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) |A district in Indonesia’s deeply conservative Aceh province has banned unmarried couples from sitting at the same table in restaurants, cafes or coffee shops, an official said Wednesday.

The head of Bireuen district’s Islamic affairs office, Jufliwan, said the measure also forbids restaurants, cafes and coffee shops from serving female customers after 9 p.m. if they are not accompanied by their husbands, fathers, brothers, or other close relatives.

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Indonesian province considers caning for gay sex

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BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) – Men and women caught having gay sex could be publicly caned in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province if an Islam-inspired draft law is approved this week.

Lawmaker Moharriadi Syafari said a majority of provincial lawmakers supported criminalizing gay sex. They are debating the law with a view to pass it and several others regulating personal behavior before Sept. 26, the last day of the current assembly.

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