26 years since Albania decriminalized homosexuality

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On 20 January 1995, the Albanian parliament voted to decriminalize homosexuality.

Being a homosexual was considered a felony during the Communist regime, an offense punishable by 10 years in prison and social exclusion.

Four years into democracy, the government reduced the sentence to 3 years. A year after, it revoked sodomy laws, deeming that being a homosexual would no longer constitute a crime.

The move came as a result of a campaign led by Gay Albania Society, as well as mounting pressures from the international community. The European Council also played an important role.

There are currently three NGOs fighting for LGBTQ rights in Albania, namely Alliance Against LGBTQ Discrimination, Pro-LGBT, and Pink Embassy.

Human Rights Watch ranked Albania among countries with widespread homophobia, based on human rights organizations.

Same-sex marriages and civil unions are not allowed to this day, although former prime minister Sali Berisha declared once in 2009 to work on recognizing them.

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