Campaigners have hailed a ruling by Antigua and Barbuda’s high court declaring the country’s law criminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults unconstitutional.
The court handed down the ruling on Tuesday in response to a case filed by a gay man and two rights groups.
According to the ruling, the law contravened constitutionally guaranteed rights to liberty, freedom of expression, and protection of personal privacy.
Antigua Observer reported that Justice Marissa Robertson ruled that sections 12 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act of 1995 contravene sections 3, 12, and 17 of the constitution of Antigua and Barbuda.
The online publication said the sections speak to a person’s right to liberty, protection of the law, freedom of expression, and protection from discrimination based on sex.
Women Against Rape and the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE)welcomed the court ruling.
“We are very much hoping the Antigua ruling will prompt other legal systems in the Caribbean to review their laws and policies, and how they impact on vulnerable populations,” Women Against Rape President Alexandrina Wong told the BBC.
And ECADE says seven Caribbean countries still have versions of statutes that prohibit same-sex intimacy.
The BBC quoted the group as saying that other constitutional challenges in Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia are expected to be concluded before the end of the year.