Consensual sex between same-sex couples is unlawful under the Criminal Code 1965, Revised Laws 1990, as amended in 2005 [R1.1].
Article 144: Unnatural offences
(1) Any person who –
(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or
(b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or
(c) permits any person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature;
is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for a term of 14 years.
(2) In this section – “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” includes –
(a) carnal knowledge of the person through the anus or the mouth of the person;
(b) inserting any object or thing into the vulva or the anus of the person for the purpose of simulating sex; and
(c) committing any other homosexual act with the person” [R1.5].
Article 144A: Aggravated Homosexuality [L1.4]
(1) A person commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality where the –
(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of eighteen years;
(b) offender is a person living with HIV Aids;
(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;
(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;
(f) offender is a serial offender;
(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be admnistered by any man or woman, any drug, matter or substance with intent to stupefy or overpower him or her, so as to enable any person to have un-lawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex;
(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality is liable on conviction to improsionment for life.
On 09 October 2014, President Yahya Jammeh signed the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2014 into law imposing life imprisonment on those found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality” which targets “serial offenders” and people living with HIV or AIDS and persons engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or drugged or in authority over another person [L1.4], [R1.3].
On 25 August 2014, the National Assembly reportedly passed a Bill – the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2014 – imposing life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality”, to include when the suspect engages in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is “in authority over” him or her. The bill now awaits approval by President Yahya Jammeh [R1.2].
On 20 June 2014, Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs Momodou Sabally reportedly said the government plans to further toughen anti-LGBT laws by ‘banning homosexuality’ and LGBT rights organisations [R1.1].