Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - LGBT rights battle ongoing

LGBT rights battle ongoing

LGBT rights battle ongoing

Cambodia's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens have seen significant progress in securing legal protections in recent years, activists said yesterday, though the fight for full equality remains an ongoing battle.

During a forum in the capital yesterday, participants said that codifying equality under the law regardless of sexual orientation was the first step in securing LGBT rights.

“If you look at the nation’s legislative movement since 1989, the Kingdom has made progressive strides in protecting the rights of LGBT Cambodians,” said Dr Mark West, a senior legal adviser for East West Management Institute.

Only three years ago, same-sex marriage was prohibited under Cambodian law.

“Marriage defined as between a man and a woman under that definition was struck down with the introduction of the Civil Code in 2011,” West explained, noting that the code doesn’t explicitly deny the possibility of adoption by couples in same-sex marriages.

But more definitive legislative amendments that safeguard equal rights for LGBT Cambodians are needed, Srorn Srun, a local LGBT activist, said.

“The constitution says that every Khmer citizen is equal before the law regardless of sex, but this is too broad. Gender identity norms need to be included if everyone is really equal under the law,” Srun said.

Gary Atkins, an international expert on LGBT law in Southeast Asia from Seattle University, agreed that truly stamping out discrimination will require the Kingdom’s legal experts and activists to continue talking.

“More LGBT Cambodians are being born every day in Phnom Penh, and if we want to secure a future where they feel safe, more laws are needed,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group