My high school friend Todd Byers introduced me to the writings of a human rights lawyer, Accidental Activist, from Geneva. Here is a snippet from a very interesting post he wrote on his blog:
That’s the number of countries that criminalize homosexuality. 76 accounts for about 40% of the 193 states we have in the world today. Together they have a population of well over a billion. One seventh of the world’s people live in these countries. Crucially, these are places where for tens of millions of gay people, loving is illegal.
Many of these anti-homosexuality laws are left-over from colonial history. A good portion of the 76 countries were once British colonies, an anti-sodomy law from Victorian England being imported wholesale into local penal codes.
Five of the 76 – Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen – execute people for being gay. Two more have regions within their countries that have the death penalty. Mauritania’s penal code is graphic: “Any adult Muslim man who commits an impudent act against nature with an individual of his sex will face the penalty of death by public stoning.” Iran’s gets straight to the point: “Punishment for sodomy is killing”, though there is more nuance to the execution of lesbians: “If the act of lesbianism is repeated three lashes and punishment is enforced each time, death sentence will be issued the fourth time.”
You should check out the rest of his informative and thoughtful piece. At the very least you can learn where not to vacation!