LGBT rights in Montenegro

LGBT rights in Montenegro
Location of  Montenegro  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)   [Legend]

Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status Legal since 1977;
age of consent equalized in 1977
Gender identity/expression Transgender people allowed to change gender
Military service Gays, lesbians and bisexuals allowed to serve
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex relationships; same-sex marriage banned by the Constitution
Adoption No

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Montenegro may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Montenegro, but households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

Discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in employment, the provision of goods and services, education and health services. Montenegro also possesses hate crime and hate speech laws which include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of non-discrimination. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association has ranked Montenegro 23rd out of 49 European countries in terms of LGBT rights legislation.[1] Despite this, Montenegrin society has yet to reach a high level of acceptance, and discrimination against LGBT people often goes unreported.[2]

Legality of same-sex sexual activity

Montenegro decriminalised same-sex sexual activity in 1977. The age of consent (14) was also equalised in 1977.[2]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples. The Constitution of Montenegro bans same-sex marriage.[3]

On 13 November 2012, then Deputy Prime Minister Duško Marković stated that the Montenegrin Government would prepare a bill giving some form of legal recognition to same-sex couples.[4] As of 2018, the Human and Minority Rights Ministry has drafted a bill to legalise registered partnerships. Under the bill, same-sex couples would be able to register their relationship and receive some of the rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage. This would not include adoption and fostering rights. The Serbian Orthodox Church and the Democratic Front have come out in opposition to the proposal, claiming it would "wreck" Christian values and family life in Montenegro.[5]

Discrimination protections

On 27 July 2010, the Montenegrin Parliament passed a non-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination. This was one of the requirements the country had to meet for European Union membership.[6]

In 2013, the Criminal Code was amended to prohibit hate speech on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, and to provide penalty enhancements if a crime is committed based on the victim's LGBT status. These changes came into force on 3 June 2014.[1]

Additionally, gays, lesbians and bisexuals are not banned from military service.

Gender identity and expression

Transgender people in Montenegro are allowed to change legal gender, but require undergoing sex reassignment surgery, sterilization, divorce if married and receiving a medical diagnosis to do so.[1]

Social conditions

Gays and lesbians may face discrimination and harassment in Montenegro. Anti-gay attitudes are deeply ingrained in society and there is widespread opposition to LGBT rights.[2]

LGBT activism

The gay scene is very small. The first Gay Pride event in Montenegro was held on 24 July 2013 in the coastal town of Budva, organized by the NGO "LGBT Forum Progress", and it subsequnelty caused various reactions in public.[7] On 20 October 2013, a Pride event took place in the capital city of Podgorica, where violent anti-gay protesters were arrested by police.[8]

In September 2017, the fifth annual Podgorica Gay Pride parade took place without any recorded incident. It was organized by the NGO "Queer Montenegro", and was attended by about 200 people.[9]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal (Since 1977)
Equal age of consent (14) (Since 1977)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment (Since 2010)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services (Since 2010)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Since 2010)
Hate crime laws include sexual orientation and gender identity (Since 2014)
Same-sex marriage (Constitutional ban since 2007)
Recognition of same-sex unions (Proposed)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples
Joint adoption by same-sex couples
Lesbians, gays and bisexuals allowed to serve in the military
Right to change legal gender
Access to IVF for lesbians
Conversion therapy banned
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples (Banned regardless of sexual orientation)
MSMs allowed to donate blood

See also


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