Key figures (as per May 2017)




  • There are 124 States (122 UN member States as well as Taiwan and Kosovo) where same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults are legal.
  • 108 countries have a law on equal age of consent, 16 are unequal.
  • 72 States still criminalise same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults: in 45 of these States the law is applied to women as well. ILGA knows of recent arrests under these laws in 45 States.
  • The death penalty for same-sex sexual acts may be applied in 8 UN member States.
    In 4 of them (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan) it is applied State-wide; in 2 (Somalia, Nigeria) it is implemented only in specific provinces; in other 2 countries (Iraq, Daesh-held territories in northern Iraq and northern Syria) it is implemented by local courts, vigilantes or non-State actors.
  • There are another 5 States (Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Mauritania) where interpretation of Shari’a, or where black letter law, permits the death penalty technically, but where it is not invoked to our knowledge.
  • 22 States have ‘promotion’ or ‘morality’ laws targeting public expression of same-sex and trans realities.
  • 25 States pose barriers to the formation, establishment or registration of sexual orientation-related NGOs.
  • 72 UN States have laws protecting from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • 9 States contain Constitutional provisions that specify sexual orientation in their discrimination protections.
  • 43 States enacted legislation combating hate crime; 39 countries have laws addressing incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
  • There are currently 23 States in the world that recognise same-sex marriage, while 28 countries provide for some civil partnership recognition.
  • 26 States have joint adoption laws: Austria, Finland and parts of Australia were the latest to pass such laws in the last 12 months, while 27 UN States allow for same-sex second parent adoption.