LGBT rights in Kosovo

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LGBT rights in Kosovo
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1970,
age of consent equalized in 1991
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption No joint adoption by same-sex couples
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections (see below)

Due to the political instability from the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence, the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Kosovo is presently unclear.

Former laws against homosexuality

Male homosexuality became legal in Kosovo in 1970. Since 1 January 1991, Kosovo has an equal age of consent of 14 regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender and all sexual offences became gender-neutral.

Gender identity/expression

Gender reassignment surgery for transgendered persons has been legal since 2001.

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Kosovo's Constitution does not restrict its definition of marriage to the union between a man and a woman, though same-sex couples are not currently recognized by law. Article 37 stipulates that anyone can enter into marriage based on free will.[1] Given there are no references to gender on whom can marry based on free will, analysts have interpreted this article to provide legal basis for gay marriage and has been criticized by international conservative circles. However, Kosovar politicians who participated in the drafting process implied that there was a lot of pressure from international lawyers and partakers in the process and the article was understood to mean that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Others have suggested that Article 24, which prohibits any form of discrimination based on one's sexual orientation, could be a possible path to the legislation of same-sex marriage. However, a court challenge has yet to be seen in the country.

Government spokesman Memli Krasniqi stated, while the government supports the law against discrimination toward gay people, it has no plans open up the issue of same-sex marriage: "This issue is not relevant in Kosovo’s social context. It does not exist as a primary, secondary or tertiary issue to focus on. It is not in the government’s margins of importance, unless we consider looking at the law on marriage."[2]

Adoption and family planning

Lesbians can get access to reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilisation, since 2004.

Military service

LGBT persons are not banned from military service.

Discrimination protections

Article 24 of the Constitution of Kosovo bans discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation.[3] Kosovo is thus one of the few states in Europe with a constitutional ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Anti-Discrimination Law of 2004, passed by the Kosovo Assembly, bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in a variety of fields, including employment, membership of organisations, education, the provision of goods and services, social security and access to housing. The definition of discrimination in this law explicitly includes direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment, victimisation and segregation.[4]

Living conditions

Although Kosovo has among Europe's broadest anti-discrimination laws, public attitudes remain deeply homophobic and it is unclear the extent to which the law is applied. In 2007, a gay man from Kosovo was granted political asylum in the United States after being repeatedly beaten and harassed. He was allegedly also harassed by hospital staff and police, to which he reported the crimes.[5]

Kosovo LGBT rights group the Center for Social Emancipation describes gay life in Kosovo as being "very underground".[6] Significantly, Pristina or other Kosovan cities have no gay clubs, and there have so far been no gay pride parades.

Blood, sperm and organ donations by gay and/or bi men became legal since December 2002. Since March 2006, Kosovo abolished homosexuality as a mental disorder.

LGBT rights movement in Kosovo

There are a few LGBT rights organisations in Kosovo, with the most prominent being the Center for Social Emancipation (). The organisation is mainly concerned with raising the visibility of the LGBT community and bringing about an extension of LGBT rights. In May 2007, the leaders of the group reported receiving death threats. The police initially refused to open a case, stating that the threats were not serious enough and that a private lawsuit should be initiated.[7]

Public opinion

60% of the Kosovo population say 'homosexuality is immoral and can be cured to normal heterosexuality'. 7% of Kosovos population support same-sex marriage(s) and 5% support adoption of children for same-sex couples.

Summary table

Homosexuality legal Yes
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes
Same-sex marriage(s) No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Adoption by same-sex couples No
Homosexuals allowed to serve in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes

See also


External links


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