LGBT rights in Honduras

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LGBT rights in Honduras
Honduras (orthographic projection).svg
Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status Legal since 1899
Gender identity/expression Unknown
Military service No
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage and de facto unions prohibited by Constitution
Adoption Prohibited by Constitution

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Honduras may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Honduras.[1]

Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples. Both same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples have been constitutionally banned since 2005. Nevertheless, Honduras is legally bound to the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling, which held that same-sex marriage is a human right protected by the American Convention on Human Rights.[2] Discrimination against LGBT people is illegal in Honduras under Article 321 of the Penal Code.[3]

Similarly to neighbouring El Salvador, LGBT people face high rates of violence and homicide. 264 LGBT people, of whom approximately half were gay men, were murdered in the country between 2009 and 2017.[4]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity is legal provided that it involves the consent of individuals fifteen years of age or more in particular, the same as for heterosexual sex.[1][5]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Same-sex unions are not legally recognized in Honduras. In 2005, the Constitution was amended to expressly ban marriage and de facto unions between people of the same sex.[6] The constitutional amendment also refuses to recognize same-sex marriages or unions that occurred legally in other countries (Article 112). It also prohibits same-sex couples from adopting (Article 116).[7][8]

Before the November 2017 elections, three candidates for the Francisco Morazán Department from the National Party and the Christian Democratic Party announced their support for same-sex marriage, adding that they would be open to introducing a same-sex marriage bill to the National Congress.[9] None of the three candidates won a seat in the National Congress.[10]

2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling[edit]

In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights mandates and requires the recognition of same-sex marriage. The ruling was fully binding on Costa Rica and sets a binding precedent for other Latin American and Caribbean countries including Honduras.[2]

In May 2018, relying on the IACHR ruling (see above), Honduran LGBT activists filed a suit with the Supreme Court in order to legalise same-sex marriage in Honduras.[11]

Discrimination protections[edit]

LGBT flag map of Honduras

In 2013, the National Congress adopted several amendments to the Penal Code (Decree No. 23-2013),[12] including the following:

  • Article 27 on the aggravating circumstances of criminal responsibility, adding "Committing a crime due to hatred or contempt because of sex, gender, religion, national origin, belonging to indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, marital status or disability, ideology or political views of the victim."[13]
  • Article 321, as follows: "Shall be punished with imprisonment of three (3) to five (5) years and a fine of four (4) to seven (7) minimum wages, the person who arbitrarily and illegally blocks, restricts, reduces, prevents or defeats the exercise of individual and collective rights or denies the provision of a professional service based on sex, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, party membership or political opinion, marital status, belonging to indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, community language, language, nationality, religion, affiliation or economic family status, different abilities or disabilities, health conditions, physical appearance or any other distinction that violates the human dignity of the victim."[13]
  • Article 321-A that states: "Whoever publicly or through the media or public broadcasting, incites to discrimination, hatred, contempt, persecution or any form of violence or attacks against a person, group or association, foundations, corporations, non-governmental organizations, for any of the causes listed in the previous article shall be imposed a penalty of three (3) to five (5) years' imprisonment and a fine of fifty thousand lempiras (L.50,000.00) to three hundred thousand lempiras (L. 300,000.00).".[13]

In March 2017, the newly enacted Penal Code came into effect.[14][15] It was reported that several LGBT rights groups had been received in Congress to dispel doubts of the wording of some articles, and to ensure that Articles 321 and 321-A remain in force.[16] The anti-discrimination articles were ultimately kept.[17]

LGBT rights movement in Honduras[edit]

The Constitution stipulates that citizens have the right to establish and associate with political parties and interest groups, though initial efforts to register an LGBT rights group in the 1980s were met with government opposition or extended delays. The first LGBT rights organizations arose in the 1980s anyway, often in the response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Such organizations had no legal standing at the time and were essentially ignored by the Government, except for police harassment.

In 2004, the Honduran Government extended formal recognition to three LGBT rights interest groups, despite organized protests from the Catholic Church, Evangelical Protests, and conservative legislators.[7]

The two major political parties have not expressed much support for expanding LGBT rights, and have mostly ignored the topic. Only a handful of dissident members within the leftist Democratic Unification Party have expressed some interest in working with the LGBT community.[7]

Social conditions[edit]

In Honduras, there is a social environment of historical discrimination against LGBT persons motivated by prejudice and machismo. The 2001 Law on Police and Social Affairs gives the police permission to raid city streets, entrap sex workers as part of "sanitation control" and arrest anyone who "goes against modesty, proper conduct and public morals." LGBT rights organizations have documented numerous instances in which police have used the law as a pretext for harassing and detaining transgender women.[7][18]

A transgender woman ran in the 2017 elections as a candidate for the Innovation and Unity Party.[19] Her run was ultimately unsuccessful.[20] She received 11,112 votes, placing 136th. The National Congress has 128 seats.

About 400 people marched in a pride parade in July 2017 in the city of San Pedro Sula, considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world.[21]

Anti-LGBT violence[edit]

In December 2014, LGBT rights group Red Lésbica Cattrachas reported that from 2009 to 2014, 174 violent deaths of LGBT persons were registered in the country (90 gays, 15 lesbians, and 69 trans persons), primarily in the departments of Cortés and Francisco Morazán.[22]

In previous years, it was reported that possibly as many as 200 Honduras people may have been killed because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity between 1993–2003.[7]

International human rights organizations have stated that LGBT people have been targeted by the military Government for harassment, abuse and murder.[7]

In June 2013, a transsexual woman was given asylum in Spain after a police officer had tried to assassinate her in Honduras.[23]

Walter Trochez, a Honduran political activist and LGBT rights leader, was allegedly assassinated on December 13, 2009, by members of the anti-Zelaya regime for organizing dissent against the new Government.[24]


The socially conservative influence of the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestants has made it difficult for any sort of comprehensive public program to be implemented. Female prostitutes and men who have sex with men are seen as the highest risk groups. The Government does offer medical care to all citizens and has been increasingly working with non-governmental organizations to raise awareness.

Public opinion[edit]

According to Pew Research Center survey, conducted between 9 November and 19 December 2013, 13% of respondents supported same-sex marriage, 83% were opposed.[25][26]

A 2018 CID Gallup poll found that 75% of Hondurans opposed same-sex marriage, 17% were in support and the rest didn't know or refused to answer.[11]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes check.svg (Since 1899)
Equal age of consent (15) Yes check.svg
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Hate crimes laws include sexual orientation and gender identity Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Same-sex marriages X mark.svg (Constitutional ban since 2005; legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Recognition of same-sex couples X mark.svg (Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples X mark.svg (Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples X mark.svg (Constitutional ban since 2005; legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender X mark.svg (Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Access to IVF for lesbians X mark.svg
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples X mark.svg
MSMs allowed to donate blood Emblem-question.svg

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults", The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, authored by Lucas Paoli Itaborahy, May 2012 :page: 12 & 14 Archived 21 December 2012 at WebCite
  2. ^ a b "Inter-American Court endorses same-sex marriage". Agence France-Presse. Yahoo7. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  3. ^ Congreso contempla reforma al Código Penal por caso del pastor Evelio Reyes
  4. ^ 'Terrorized at home', Central America's LGBT people to flee for their lives: report
  5. ^ "The age of consent in Honduras", Born in Honduras, 28 February 2011
  6. ^ University of Toronto - Faculty of Law (2011). "Honduras: Country Report for use in refugee claims based on persecution relating to sexual orientation and gender identity" (PDF). Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Gay Honduras News & Reports
  8. ^ "Honduras: Constitución de 1982". 
  9. ^ (in Spanish) Para compartir esta nota utiliza los íconos que aparecen en el sitio.
  10. ^ (in Spanish) Estos son los 128 diputados que conforman el Congreso Nacional (2018-2022)
  11. ^ a b (in Spanish) Más del 70% de los hondureños rechaza el matrimonio homosexual
  12. ^ "Honduras reforms its penal code to end human right violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity". UNAIDS. 5 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Honduras – Discriminación – Decreto 23/2013
  14. ^ "CN comienza a aprobar en primer debate proyecto de nuevo Código Penal para Honduras". Congreso Nacional de Honduras. 26 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "Seis meses podría tardar la aprobación de Código Penal". Diario el Heraldo Honduras. 18 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "LGTB piden que código penal respete normativa internacional" (in Spanish). 23 May 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  17. ^ (in Spanish) Código Penal de Honduras
  18. ^ "Not worth a penny: Human rights abuses against transgender people in Honduras" (PDF). May 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  19. ^ Transgender woman running for Honduras congress The Washignton Blade, 25 September 2017
  20. ^ Polémica candidatura de Rihanna Ferrera no logró un lugar en el Congreso Nacional
  21. ^ Activists in violence-plagued Honduras city hold Pride parade The Washington Blade, 17 July 2017
  22. ^ "Preliminary Observations concerning the Human Rights Situation in Honduras". December 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  23. ^ (in Spanish) Transexual hondureña recibe asilo en España tras intento de asesinato
  24. ^ "Honduras: Full and prompt investigation needed into death of human rights campaigner", Amnesty International, 14 December 2009
  25. ^ Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
  26. ^ Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology