2003 in LGBT Rights

In 2003, there were 106 recorded legal changes made affecting LGBT people. In the previous year, there were 44 changes made and 74 in the following year. A total of 713 legal changes were made in the 2000s.

  • December 21
    Same-sex adoption becomes single only.
    There are no adoption restrictions for single people. Also, no laws in place for same-sex couples.
  • December 18
    Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires surgery.
    Article 21 was amended in 2003 so that legal sex can be rectified to correct for "errors" without changing other details in the civil registry.
  • December 2
    LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • November 18
    Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    There are no laws censoring LGBTQ Topics in Liverpool
  • Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    Previous law repealed by section 122 of the Local Government Act 2003.
  • Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    In England, there are no laws restricting the discussion or promotion of LGBTQ+ topics. This extends to Manchester
  • Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    The UK does not restrict the promotion of LGBTQ topics.
  • Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    Previous law repealed by section 122 of the Local Government Act 2003.
  • Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    In Wales, there are no laws restricting the discussion or promotion of LGBTQ+ topics.
  • Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    In England, there are no laws restricting the discussion or promotion of LGBTQ+ topics.
  • November 1
    Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires surgery.
    Until 2018, surgery was required to change your legal gender in Brazil.
  • October 8
    Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires surgery.
    Requires a notarized affidavit from a surgeon outlining the surgical procedure(s). A court order may also be used as evidence.
  • September 30
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    In 2015, the National Assembly amended the definition of "sex" in the law to include cases of gender change.[20] Transgender people who have not undergone a legal gender change could use "gender" from the list of protected grounds. Gender expression and gender identity are not explicitly mentioned in the revised Act. For other mods please check sources if it is wrong please change it but check sources first as this seems it is correct. Cheers!
  • September 16
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    There are some local discrimination protections for LGBT people. Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill pending nationwide.
  • August 28
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Missouri's hate crime statutes explicitly address both sexual orientation, defined as "male or female heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality by inclination, practice, identity or expression," and gender identity, defined as "having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's gender."
  • July 30
    Same-sex marriage becomes unregistered cohabitation.
    The Law on Same-Sex Unions was adopted on July 14, 2003. The law allowed same-sex partners who have lived together for a minimum of 3 years similar rights to unmarried heterosexual partners in terms of inheritance and financial support, but not the right to adoption or any other right under family law. Such relationships could not be registered, nor did they have rights in terms of taxes, joint property, health insurance, pensions, etc.
  • Same-sex adoption becomes single only.
    There are no restrictions for single individuals based on sexual orientation, but there are restrictions to single people in general. A child may be adopted by a person who is not married if it is of particular benefit to the child (Article 133, paragraph 2).
  • July 29
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes ambiguous.
    Article 3 of the 2003 Labour Law prohibited discrimination in employment but did not mention sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • July 19
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation only.
    Amendments to the Labor Law (1995) dated July 14, 2003 introduced sexual orientation as a basis for prohibiting discrimination.
  • July 15
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    In 2003 Discrimination protection was extended to Sexual orientation and Gender identity in the penal code. In 2004, an official anti-discrimination bill was passed that includes provisions for sexual orientations and gender identities
  • July 9
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation only.
    Discrimination protection is afforded on the grounds of sexual orientation
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Only discrimination in workplace banned.
  • July 8
    Same-sex marriage becomes legal.
    British Columbia became the second province in Canada behind Ontario to legalize gay marriage.
  • July 1
    Serving openly in military becomes lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned.
    Open homosexuals still serve in the military.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    This state explicitly bans housing discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identification. Additionally, the Human Rights Campaign states, "The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires grantees and participants of HUD programs to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD also prohibits inquiries regarding the sexual orientation or gender identity of a prospective tenant or applicant for assisted housing in every state (March 2012)."
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    State law provides for protections against employment discrimination in regards to both sexual orientation and gender identification.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    People are protected from discrimination based upon both sexual orientation and gender identification.
  • Serving openly in military becomes lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned.
    Open homosexuals still serve in the military.
  • June 26
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    In 2002, the Puerto Rican Supreme Court ruled that the ban on sodomy was constitutional. However, as a American territory Puerto Rico is subject to decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 26, 2003 with the landmark decision ruled through "Lawrence v Texas", homosexuality was decriminalized across the contiguous United States and it's subsequent territories, including Puerto Rico. In 2004, the Penal Code was ammended, codifying the legality of homosexuality.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court (2003)
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    same sex activities legal.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    The SCOTUS ruling Lawrence v. Texas decriminalised gay sex nationwide. In 2019, Utah repealed its defunct sodomy provisions from its state constitution.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court (2003)
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court (2003)
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    US Supreme Court ruling issued in Lawrence v. Texas struck down all sodomy laws on the basis of privacy and liberty. The decision overturned any laws remaining in all US states which prohibited acts of sodomy.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    U.S. Supreme Court decision superseding any state or local statute making such activity illegal.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Legal due to the US Supreme ruling about homosexual activity.
  • Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Homosexuality was decriminalized at the federal level in the United States through the landmark Supreme Court decision of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. The court struck down a Texas statute that criminalized sexual acts between same-sex couples, declaring such laws unconstitutional. This judgment set a precedent that rendered similar anti-sodomy statutes across states unenforceable, thereby federally decriminalizing homosexuality in private, consensual settings.
  • June 11
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes varies by region.
    Most of Mexico's states have enacted laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or sexual preference, as well as gender. Many states also explicitly ban discrimination based on gender identity in local laws.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Since 2011, Article 1 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (1917) (federal constitution) prohibits discrimination based on “sexual preferences”. 3 out of 32 subnational jurisdictions bans discrimination based on gender identity in its State Constitutions. Article 1(3) of the Federal Act to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination (2003) includes “sexual preferences” as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination
  • June 10
    Same-sex marriage becomes varies by region.
    On June 10th, 2003, Ontario became the first province in Canada to legalize civil unions for gay couples. The second province to legalize it was British Columbia less than a month later on July 8th, 2003.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes legal.
    Through the case Halpern v. Canada, the definition of marriage as "one man and one woman" was changed to “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others” to comply with the couples' equality rights under section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • June 1
    Same-sex marriage becomes legal.
    Civil marriages for same-sex couples were enabled by Article 143 of the Belgian Civil Code (Book I, Title V, Chapter I), making it the second country in the world to recognise same-sex marriage. Statutory cohabitation remains available for those who do not wish to enter into a civil marriage.
  • May 27
    Equal age of consent becomes equal.
  • May 26
    Same-sex marriage becomes banned.
    The Constitution of Rwanda, adopted in May 2003, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Article 26 states: "Only civil monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is recognized."
  • May 1
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Before the adoption of the Anti-Discrimination Law in 2010, several laws prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation: - law on media (2002), article 23; - labour law (2008), article 5. Also, the 2007 Constitution prohibits discrimination in general but it does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • April 18
    Homosexual activity becomes legal.
    Homosexual activity is not illegal in Armenia.
  • March 15
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes no protections.
  • Serving openly in military becomes ambiguous.
    Currently unknown
  • LGBT discrimination becomes no protections.
  • March 13
    LGBT housing discrimination becomes no protections.
  • March 1
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Before the adoption of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination from 2009, sexual orientation was one of the explicitly mentioned bases for the prohibition of discrimination in the Criminal Code of BiH from 2003 (Article 145) and the Law on Gender Equality from 2003 (Article 2, Paragraph 2).
  • February 27
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal in some contexts.
    Before the adoption of the Anti-Discrimination law in 2008, several laws prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation: - Law on Croatian Radio and Television (2003), Article 8; - Labor Law, amendment (2003), Article 2; - Law on Gender Equality (2003), Article 6; - Law on Scientific Activity and Higher Education (2003), Article 77; - Law on Electronic Media (2003), Article 15; - Sports Law (2006), Article 1; - Criminal Code, amendment (2006), Article 14; - Law on Volunteerism (2007), Article 9; - Law on Asylum (2007), Article 2.
  • January 16
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    SONDA was passed in early 2003, making illegal for employers to discriminate against employees. This also includes Transgender people.
  • January 10
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Under federal Hate Crimes
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Under federal hate crimes.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Under federal Hate Crimes.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    State Law 7309 of 10 January 2003
  • January 1
    Equal age of consent becomes unequal.
    Section 53 of the Belizean Penal Code criminalized sodomy until being striked down in 2016, coincidely with this illegality the age of consent was unequal.
  • Gender-affirming care becomes restricted.
    Starting in 2003, "sex-change medical interventions" were allowed only after a full chromosome map to ensure the person has a “biological need” to receive that treatment, in addition to approval of Al-Azhar. HRT is only allowed after a "sex-change surgery".
  • Gender-affirming care becomes legal.
    In 2003, Italy adopted the ICD-10 classification, which contains codes for diagnosing transsexualism in adulthood and childhood, which authorize the initiation of medical transition.
  • (date unknown)
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation only.
    illegal since 200
  • Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires medical diagnosis.
    Since 2003, Transgender individuals have been allowed to change legal gender in Kazakhstan. People who wanted to change their gender had to receive a diagnosis of "gender identity disorder" involving several medical tests and a 30-day psychiatric evaluation.
  • Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires surgery.
    In Zhambyl oblysy, it is legal to change the legal gender after surgery
  • January 1
    Censorship of LGBT issues becomes no censorship.
    No restrictions to freedom of expression and association in South Korea.
  • LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
    Full Discrimination protection
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    sexual orientation was added in 2003. Gender indentity was always there.
  • Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    The legal system in Belize does not recognise same sex marriages or civil unions.
  • (date unknown)
    LGBT housing discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Since autumn 2003, the Urban Renaissance Agency, the government agency that operates government housing has allowed same-sex couples to rent units the same way as heterosexual couples at any one of the over 300 properties that it operates. This opened the way for more such action, as the Osaka Government in September 2005 opened the doors of its government housing to same-sex couples. In February 2018, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare created provisions addressing discrimination in housing, stating that "consideration must be taken to not deny lodging on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."
  • January 1
    Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    Same-sex relationships are not recognized in Iraq.
  • (date unknown)
    LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation only.
    Sexual orientation was protected.
  • January 1
    Right to change legal gender becomes legal, but requires surgery.
    The authorities shall recognise a person as belonging to the opposite sex to that recorded on the population register, provided they: • Provides a medical report testifying that they permanently experience being a member of the opposite sex and that they live in the gender roles of those and that they have been sterilized or are otherwise incapable of having children • They are an adult • They are not married or in a registered partnership; unless the spouse or partner gives their consent in which case a marriage become a registered partnership and a registered partnership becomes a marriage • They are a Finnish citizen or is resident in Finland
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation only.
    Aricle 6 of the 2002 Labour Law prohibits employment discrimination. Sexual orientation is one of explicitly mentioned grounds.
  • (date unknown)
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.
  • LGBT employment discrimination becomes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • January 1
    Same-sex adoption becomes legal.
    California law states that an adult related to the child, a person named in a deceased parent’s will, a legal guardian, or a person with whom the child has been placed for adoption is permitted to petition to adopt. California §8600, 8601 permit same-sex adoption, and second-parent adoption is legal per case law exhibited via Sharon v. Supreme Court, 31 Cal. 4th 417 (2003). This case also explicitly banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in all adoptions and foster care placements in California.
  • Homosexual activity becomes illegal (imprisonment as punishment).
    The Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code states that all kinds of sexual acts, except for the natural sex, are illegal. People found guilty are liable for a 10-year imprisonment. "Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person ... shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years." Moreover, homosexual immigrants are prohibited an entry to the country.
  • January
    Same-sex marriage becomes unrecognized.
    Taiwan was the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to consider legalizing same-sex marriage but the legislation stalled in the legislature.
  • (date unknown)
    LGBT discrimination becomes illegal.

LGBT Organizations Founded in 2003

  • Freedom to Marry FaviconFreedom to Marry
    Global
    Freedom to Marry was launched in 2003 by Evan Wolfson, the civil rights attorney generally considered the architect of the national marriage equality movement. From a prophetic…
  • National Center for Transgender Equality FaviconNational Center for Transgender Equality
    The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a United States social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy…
  • Transgender Education Advocates of Utah FaviconTransgender Education Advocates of Utah
    TEA of Utah is a statewide transgender (trans) advocacy organization. Trans-inclusion has always been a primary focus of TEA of Utah's work. From ensuring that gender identity is…
  • Alian FaviconAlian
    Alian
  • CSD Deutschland e.V. FaviconCSD Deutschland e.V.
    CSD Deutschland e.V. sees itself as an umbrella organization of all German Christopher Street Day - organizing associations, initiatives and projects, whose members form a…
  • Chennai Pride FaviconChennai Pride
    They provide vital support, including legal aid as well as engage with the Government to address policy issues. They are currently working with the Government on sensitizing the…
  • CSGD FaviconCSGD
    Center for Social Group Development – CSGD is focused to operate empowerment of LGBTI Community in Kosovo, awareness rising of general population about LGBTI rights, advocacy…