LGBT rights

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The obstacles before the realisation of the rights of people with different sexual orientation continue to be serious. Since the beginning of 2004 the Protection against Discrimination Act has been covering discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all fields. At the same time, despite the fact that Articles 162 and 164 of the Criminal Code stipulate penalties in cases of instigation of animosity or hatred on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity and religion, the instigation of hatred and violence against LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals) is not explicitly included in the Criminal Code provisions. As a result, hate crimes motivated by the sexual orientation or the sexual identity of a person are not considered a criminal act.

Bulgaria is still among the states which do not recognise any form of cohabitation between people of the same sex. Civil marriage remains the only legally recognised union between two persons, explicitly defined in law as ‘a voluntary union between a man and a woman’. The lack of recognition of same-sex couples automatically places them at a disadvantage, depriving them of the civic, social and economic rights awarded to heterosexual couples.

The Commission for Protection against Discrimination, the ethics committees in the press and the electronic media, as well as the Electronic Media Council are relatively inactive in cases of hate speech on the basis of sexual orientation. Many Bulgarian politicians and public actors, including the prime minister and leader of the GERB political party, Boyko Borisov, continue to publicly make biased and homophobic statements with impunity.

You can read more on the LGBT problematic in BHC’s annual report and in the sections below.