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LGBT rights in Vatican City
Location of  LGBT rights in Vatican City  (green)in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]
Location of  LGBT rights in Vatican City  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal
Gender identity/expression (see below)
Discrimination protections None
Family rights
Recognition of

The legal code regarding homosexuality in the Vatican City is based on the Italian penal code of 1929, the time of the founding of the sovereign state Vatican City. However, it was announced in late 2008 that the Vatican "will no longer automatically adopt new Italian laws as its own, a top Vatican official said, citing the vast number of laws Italy churns out, many of which are in odds with Catholic doctrine".[1]

Criminal law[edit]

There are no criminal laws against non-commercial, private, adult and consensual same-sex sexual activity.

The Vatican has not made its own complete separate criminal code. Instead, in matters of criminal law, as per Article 3 of the "Law of the Source of Law" (Act Nr. II of the six fundamental laws adopted upon ratification of the Lateran Treaty in 1929) the Vatican State used the criminal law of Italy (Codice Penale, CP) of 1889 in the version of 1929-06-08.[2] With Act from 1969-06-21 the version of the used Italian law is changed to 1924-12-31,[3] primarily because of the death penalty reintroduced 1926 in Italy. In 1930 the Italian law has changed, which has no effect for the Vatican State. With the "Act on Sources of Law" from 2008-10-01 (in force since 2009-01-01) Article 7, the use of the Italian criminal law, like it is introduced with Act Nr. II, Art. 3, from 1929-06-07 and with all changes from the Vatican State until now, is re-declared (until further changes), as long as they do not conflict with ecclesiastical law or laws specifically promulgated by Pope for the Vatican (Art. 3).[4][5] In 2013, the age of consent for sexual activity was raised from 12 to 18.[6]

In 1957 the Catholic Church formally endorsed the policy recommendations of the British Wolfden Report. The report had been commissioned by the British government to review the criminal laws against homosexuality. While emphasizing that it believes that homosexuality is a sin, the Vatican supported the legalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.

Civil rights[edit]

Vatican City State does not have any civil rights provisions that include sexual orientation or gender identity.

Transgender issues[edit]

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness."[7]

In 2000, the Holy See took the official position that transsexual people remain the same sex they were born with, and transsexualism is a mental disorder. However, the Vatican stated that "[a transgender] procedure could be morally acceptable in certain extreme cases if a medical probability exists that it will "cure" the patient's internal turmoil."[8]


There are no known cases of AIDS or HIV infection in Vatican City. Internationally, the Vatican government has been a leading opponent of the usage of condoms as part of a campaign to stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.[9] In 2006, the Holy See said it was conducting a scientific and moral study on the usage of condoms in the fight against the pandemic.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vatican ends automatic adoption of Italian law. Reuters. Retrieved on 26 October 2010.
  2. ^ Art. 4 [old version] Art. 3 Legge sulle fonti del diritto, N.II., 7. Juni 1929
  3. ^ Art. 39 Legge che modifica la legislazione penis e la legislazione processuale penale, N.L, 21. Juni 1969; which change Art. 4 of Legge sulle fonti del diritto 1929.
  4. ^ Nr. LXXI Legge sulle fonti del diritto, Art 7, from 2008-10-01 (Online in Italian, Online in German as "Gesetz über Rechtsquellen")
  5. ^ The automatic enforcement of Italic laws before Nr. LXXI, which goes through the press ("Vatican ends automatic adoption of Italian law". Reuters. 31 December 2008. ), could not be for the criminal law. It is possible for the civil law, where now is used the civil law of Italy of 1942-03-16 in the version of 2008-12-31 / 2009-01-01.
  6. ^ Vatican City raises age of consent from 12 to 18 following scandals
  7. ^ [1], Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part One, Section Two, Chapter One, Article One, Paragraph Six, #369.
  8. ^ [2], "Vatican says 'sex-change' operation does not change person's gender".
  9. ^ Condoms and the Vatican | FP Passport. Blog.foreignpolicy.com (21 November 2006). Retrieved on 26 October 2010.
  10. ^ Vatican Studying Condoms and AIDS. Washingtonpost.com (25 April 2006). Retrieved on 26 October 2010.

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