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Very Real

Trinidad And Tobago Close To Decriminalizing Homosexuality

A judge declared that laws criminalizing same-sex relationships are unconstitutional. 

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Trinidad and Tobago made huge progress in the realm of LGBTQ rights last week.

Trinidad and Tobago’s High Court ruled on Thursday that colonial-era laws banning adult same-sex activity are unconstitutional, according to The Huffington Post. Prior to the ruling, same-sex activity could have resulted in serious jail time. The country’s Sexual Offenses Act previously stated that “buggery,” or anal sex, could be met with 25 years in prison, while an act of “serious indecency,” or sexual acts other than intercourse, could result in five years in prison, NBC News reports.

The ruling comes after LGBTQ advocate Jason Jones filed a lawsuit against the government of Trinidad and Tobago, arguing that some of the laws covering same-sex relationships were a violation of his right to privacy and freedom of thought and expression, according to the Jamaica Observer.

Kenita Placide, a Caribbean adviser for LGBTQ human rights group OutRight Action International, applauded Judge Rampersad’s decision in a statement.

“The judge came down on the right side of history in this case by striking down the buggery law and ruling it as unconstitutional,” Placide told NBC News. “The activism and advocacy will continue in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean until equality for LGBTQ people is guaranteed.”

Final judgment on the issue will be made in July, NBC News reports.

(Photo: A rainbow, heart-shaped balloon floats in the clear blue sky. By Kelly Bowden/Getty Images)