LGBT rights in Nicaragua
|Status||Legal since 2008|
|Discrimination protections||Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)|
|Recognition of relationships||No recognition of same-sex couples|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Nicaragua face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Nicaragua. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in certain areas, including in employment and access to health services.
According to Nicaraguan LGBT group Movimiento de la Diversidad Sexual (Movement of Sexual Diversity), there are approximately 600,000 gay people living in Nicaragua.
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity have been legal in Nicaragua since March 2008. The age of consent is 16, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, and all sexual offenses are gender-neutral, according to articles 168, 170, 172 and 175 of the Criminal Code of Nicaragua.
Same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal benefits and protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
In June 2014, the Nicaraguan Congress approved a revised family code that would limit marriage, partnerships and adoption to heterosexual couples. On 8 April 2015, the new Family Code went into effect.Several organizations filed an action of unconstitutionality against the Code.
Article 72 of the Constitution of Nicaragua states that:
Marriage and stable unions are protected by the State; they rest on the voluntary agreement between a man and a woman, and may be dissolved by mutual consent or by the shall of one of the parties. The law shall regulate this matter.
On 9 January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that countries signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights are required to allow same-sex couples to marry.The ruling, which set binding precedent for numerous Latin American countries, states that:
The State must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex in accordance with the provisions of Articles 11.2 and 17.1 of the American Convention. (...) in accordance with articles 1.1, 2, 11.2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention, it is necessary to guarantee access to all the existing figures in domestic legal systems, including the right to marry. (...) To ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples, without discrimination with respect to those that are constituted by heterosexual couples.
Article 315 of the Penal Code on "offenses against labor rights", states that discrimination based on "sexual option", is punishable with up to one year in prison.
Article 3(l) of Law N° 820 for the Promotion, Protection and Defense of Human Rights in the face of HIV and AIDS, for its Prevention and Attention (Spanish : Ley núm. 820 de promoción, protección y defensa de los derechos humanos ante el VIH y SIDA para su prevención y atención) prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (among other grounds).
Article 1 of Ministerial Resolution 671-2014 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in access to health services.
According to Article 36(5) of the Penal Code, an aggravating circumstance exists when a person is motivated by discrimination based on sexual orientation while committing a criminal offense.
A 2012 survey by the Center for Justice and International Law found that 53 aggressions against LGBT people had occurred between 1999 and 2011. Of these, 15 involved murders (10 gay men, 4 transgender people and 1 lesbian). The actual number of homicides and violent attacks is expected to be higher, as many victims choose not to denounce the attacks to the police.
Gay men are generally more visible in public than lesbians are.When lesbians socialize with each other, it often happens in private residences or other private places.
Many LGBT Nicaraguans held prominent roles during the Sandinista Revolution; however, LGBT rights were not a priority to the Sandinista Government because the majority of the population were Roman Catholic. Protecting those rights was also considered politically risky and bound to be met with hostility from the Roman Catholic Church, which already had bad relations with the government.On the tenth anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution (1989), many community centers were launched for LGBT people. The centers began to form after a march by activists that took place in Managua.
After the United States lifted the economic embargo against Nicaragua, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting LGBT rights began to operate in the country. As a result, Nicaragua hosted its first public gay pride festival in 1991.The annual Gay Pride celebration in Managua, held around 28 June, still occurs and is used to commemorate the uprising of the Stonewall riots in New York City.
After gaining support, the LGBT community suffered a setback when a bill formerly written to protect women from rape and sexual abuse was changed by social Christians in the National Assembly.The change imposed a sentence of up to three years in prison for "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes, or practices sex among persons of the same sex in a scandalous manner." It also included any unmarried sex acts. Activists and their allies protested in Nicaragua and at embassies abroad; however, President Violeta Chamorro signed the bill into a law in July 1992 as Article 204 of the Nicaragua Criminal Code.
In November 1992, a coalition known as the Campaign for Sexuality without Prejudices (Campaña por una Sexualidad sin Prejuicios), composed of lawyers, lesbians, and gay activists, among others, presented an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice challenging the law as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in March 1994.On 1 March 2008, a new Penal Code took effect. It omitted the language in the now-repealed Article 204 and, by doing so, decriminalized sex out of wedlock and gay sex between consenting adults.
Since legalizing homosexuality in 2008, Nicaragua has been active on the international level in supporting LGBT rights. In 2011, Nicaragua signed the "joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
The Nicaraguan Government has also urged countries to repeal their sodomy bans, including Antigua and Barbuda.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, conducted between 9 November and 13 December 2013, 77% of Nicaraguans opposed same-sex marriage, 16% were in favor and 7% did not know.
The 2017 AmericasBarometer showed that 24.5% of Nicaraguans supported same-sex marriage.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Since 2008)|
|Equal age of consent (16)||(Since 2008)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment||(Since 2008)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in education|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in other areas (health)||(Since 2014)|
|Hate crime law includes sexual orientation||(Since 2008)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Conversion therapy banned on minors|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
Rights affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people vary greatly by country or jurisdiction—encompassing everything from the legal recognition of same-sex marriage to the death penalty for homosexuality.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Ecuador have evolved significantly in the past decades. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Ecuador and same-sex couples can enter into civil unions and same-sex marriages.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Venezuela face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Venezuela, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples. Also, same-sex marriage and de facto unions are constitutionally banned since 1999.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights in Chile have advanced significantly in the 21st century and are now quite progressive.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Spain have undergone several significant changes over the last decades to become some of the most advanced in the world. As of the 2020s, Spain is considered one of the most culturally liberal and LGBT-friendly countries in the world.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Cuba may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Since pre-Revolutionary times, the LGBT community has been marginalized due to distinct criteria. Cuba was rooted on the basis of heteronormativity, traditional gender roles, and strict criteria for moralism. During the Revolution the combination of socialism and traditional morality only exacerbated the marginalization of the LGBT community even more. Therefore, those who did not fit the mold of the societal construct were deemed as either outcasts or as unproductive. It was not until recently that the attitudes and acceptance towards LGBT people changed to be more tolerant.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Costa Rica have evolved significantly in the past decades. Same-sex sexual relations have been legal since 1971. In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights made mandatory the approbation of same-sex marriage, adoption for same-sex couples and the removal of people's sex from all Costa Rican ID cards issued since October 2018. The Costa Rican Government announced that it would apply the rulings in the following months. In August 2018, the Costa Rican Supreme Court ruled against the country's same-sex marriage ban, and gave the Legislative Assembly 18 months to reform the law accordingly, otherwise the ban would be abolished automatically. Same-sex marriage became legal on 26 May 2020.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Mexico have expanded in recent years, in keeping with worldwide legal trends. The intellectual influence of the French Revolution and the brief French occupation of Mexico (1862–67) resulted in the adoption of the Napoleonic Code, which decriminalized same-sex sexual acts in 1871. Laws against public immorality or indecency, however, have been used to prosecute persons who engage in them.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Andorra have advanced significantly in the 21st century. Civil unions, which grant all the benefits of marriage including adoption, have been recognized since 2014, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is constitutionally banned. The General Council passed a bill on 21 July 2022 that will legalize same-sex marriage in 2023, and convert all civil unions into civil marriage.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Argentina are among the most advanced in the world. Upon legalising same-sex marriage on 15 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, the second in the Americas, and the tenth in the world to do so. Following Argentina's transition to a democracy in 1983, its laws have become more inclusive and accepting of LGBT people, as has public opinion.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Uruguay are among the most advanced in both Latin America and the world in general. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal with an equal age of consent since 1934. Anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people have been in place since 2004. Civil unions for same-sex couples have been allowed since 2008 and same-sex marriages since 2013, in accordance with the nation's same-sex marriage law passed in early 2013. Additionally, same-sex couples have been allowed to jointly adopt since 2009 and gays, lesbians and bisexuals are allowed to serve openly in the military.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Honduras face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Honduras.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons in Puerto Rico have almost the same protections and rights as heterosexual individuals. Public discussion and debate about sexual orientation and gender identity issues has increased, and some legal changes have been made. Supporters and opponents of legislation protecting the rights of LGBT persons can be found in both of the major political parties. Public opposition still exists due, in large part, to the strong influence of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as socially conservative Protestants. Puerto Rico has a great influence on the legal rights of LGBT citizens. Same-sex marriage has been legal in the commonwealth since July 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other non-cisgender or non-heterosexual (LGBT) persons in El Salvador face legal and social challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity of all genders are legal in El Salvador, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Peru face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity among consenting adults is legal. However, households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.
Laws governing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are complex in the Americas, and acceptance of LGBT persons varies widely.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Dominican Republic do not enjoy the same rights as non-LGBT residents, and face legal and social challenges that are not experienced by other people. While the Dominican Criminal Code does not expressly prohibit homosexuality or cross-dressing, it also does not address discrimination or harassment on the account of sexual orientation or gender identity, nor does it recognize same-sex unions in any form, whether it be marriage or partnerships. Household headed by same-sex couples are also not eligible for any of the same rights given to opposite-sex married couples, as same-sex marriage is constitutionally banned in the country.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Bolivia face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Bolivia. The Bolivian Constitution bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, making Bolivia one of the only few countries in the world to have such constitutional protections for LGBT people. In 2016, Bolivia passed a comprehensive gender identity law, seen as one of the most progressive laws relating to transgender people in the world.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Guatemala face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Guatemala.
Nicaragua does not currently recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions.