The UN Human Rights Council, expressing “grave concerns” over violence and discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity, commissioned the body’s first study on the topic [PDF] in 2011.
In 2014 the council passed a resolution to combat anti-LGBT violence and discrimination.
In 2013, Russia made it a crime to distribute “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships among minors.” More than a dozen people have been fined for violations, including participating in protests and sharing articles on social media.
Human rights groups say the law is a tool for anti-LGBT discrimination, and Europe’s top human rights court ruled that it is illegal in June 2017; though the decision is binding, the court has few means to enforce it.
While in 2015 Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through popular referendum, lawmakers in Northern Ireland have defeated bills to legalize same-sex marriage five times.
Croatians approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a 2013 referendum, though the country’s parliament allowed civil partnerships a year later.International organizations, including the United Nations, have issued resolutions in support of LGBT rights, but human rights groups say these organizations have limited power to enforce these newly recognized rights. While same-sex marriage has made the most gains in Western democracies, antidiscrimination laws are gaining traction worldwide.Rights monitors find a strong correlation between LGBT rights and democratic societies; the research and advocacy group Freedom House lists nearly all the countries that allow same-sex marriage as “free.” “Wherever you see restrictions on individuals—in terms of speech, expression, or freedom of assembly—you see a crackdown on LGBT rights,” says Julie Dorf, senior advisor to the Council for Global Equality, a Washington-based group that promotes LGBT rights in U. In 2017, seventy-two countries, including some that retain sodomy laws, had protections against employment discrimination [PDF] based on gender identity or sexual orientation.Two years later, the United Nations appointed its first-ever independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.“What is important here is the gradual building of consensus,” says Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch.In 2005 Canada became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to legalize same-sex marriage.It was followed by Argentina in 2010, Brazil and Uruguay in 2013, Mexico in 2015, Colombia in 2016, and Ecuador in 2019.Central American countries do not recognize same-sex couples, though some have limited antidiscrimination protections.Costa Rica’s constitutional court ruled that same-sex marriage must be legalized by mid-2020.Support for same-sex marriage also remains low in the Caribbean, at just 16 percent in Jamaica and 23 percent in the Dominican Republic.In Bermuda, a British territory, the parliament reversed the supreme court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2017; that was challenged in local courts and could now go to a London court of appeals. The governments of Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay have enacted constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.