On Tuesday, Gabon took a major step forward when its lower house of Parliament voted to decriminalize homosexuality. In doing so, Gabon became one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to reverse the law that made homosexuality a crime. The initiative was backed by 48 Parliament members, while 25 abstained and 24 voted against it.
Although passage by the lower house is an encouraging sign, the bill must still pass the upper house of the Senate before the law is taken off the books and homosexuality is officially decriminalized.
Gabon is one of 73 countries that considers same-sex relations a crime, with a punishment of up to six month in prison and a hefty fine of over $8,500.
The law criminalizing homosexuality in Gabon was passed just last year.