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Due to the political changes taking place in the state, the status of LGBT rights in Kosovo is presently unclear.
Age of consentEdit
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.
LGBT people are not banned from military service.
Protection based on sexual orientation in lawEdit
Article 24 of the Draft Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo bans discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation. 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.
Recognition of same-sex couplesEdit
Same-sex couples are currently not legally recognised under Kosovan law. Article 37 of the Draft Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo does, however, defines marriage in gender-neutral terms and affirms that "Based on free will, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family", while Article 24 forbids any discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation. Whether this will be interpreted by the courts as indicating a right to same-sex marriage is yet to be seen.
Opinions on homosexuality in KosovoEdit
60% of the Kosovo population say 'homosexuality is immoral and can be cured to normal heterosexuality'.
Opinions on same-sex marriage(s)Edit
7% of Kosovos population support same-sex marriage(s) and 5% support adoption of children for same-sex couples.
Gay life in the countryEdit
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.
There are a few LGBT rights organisations in Kosovo, with the most prominent being the Center for Social Emancipation (Albanian: Qendra për Emancipim Shoqëror). 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.
The Center for Social Emancipation describes gay life in Kosovo as being "very underground". Significantly, Pristina or other Kosovan cities have no gay clubs, and there have so far been no gay pride parades.
Other LGBT issuesEdit
Sex reassignment surgery for transgendered persons has been legal since 2001. Blood, sperm and organ donations by gay and/or bi men became legal since December 2002. Lesbians can get access to reproductive technologies, such as IVF, etc. since 2004. Since March 2006, Kosovo abolished homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Summary table Edit
|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|
|Recognition of same-sex couples||No|
|Adoption by same-sex couples||No|
|Gays 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|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Draft Constitution of Kosovo (Fundamental Rights and Freedoms)
- ↑ Law 2004/3: The Anti-Discrimination Law, UNMIK
- ↑ Yusef Najafi, Gay man from Kosovo granted political asylum in the U.S., Metro Weekly, May 17, 2007
- ↑ Kosovo: Gay, Lesbian Youth Leaders Under Serious Death Threats, 247Gay.com, 25 May 2007
- ↑ Center for Social Emancipation