LGBT rights in Cambodia

Some aspects of LGBT rights are supported by law in Cambodia, including that homosexuality is legal. King Norodom Sihanouk in 2004 showed support for gay marriage, although this has not resulted in new laws to accommodate it. At present there are no provisions on an age of consent in the Criminal law.[1]


In February 2004, the issue of gay rights in Cambodia was discussed by then King-Father Norodom Sihanouk. King Sihanouk wrote on his web site he was impressed by marriage of same-sex partners in San Francisco,[2] and that if his people wished for gay marriage to be legalized in Cambodia, he would do so.

King Sihanouk also stated that he believed that God views homosexuals, as well as transvestites, as equal because "[God loves] wide range of tastes". However, this view is not widely accepted in Cambodia and, as King Sihanouk was a constitutional monarch and had no executive powers, no marriage laws have since been enacted.

Partnership Recognition (other than parenting)

There is one recorded case of partnership recognition in Cambodia. Khav Sokha and Pum Eth were married on March 12, 1995, in the village of Kro Bao Ach Kok, in Kandal Province, where they are from. Sokha said in an interview to the Phnom Penh Post, "The authorities thought it was strange, but they agreed to tolerate it because I have three children already (from a previous marriage). They said that if we were both single (and childless), we would not be allowed to get married because we could not produce children". Thus, it is a fully acknowledged marriage, with official approval, and there was not really any reaction to it. It was a curious event which everyone wanted to be part of, to the point that about 250 people went to the ceremony (by Buddhist monks) and party, including high officials from the Province.(Juan Pablo Ordonez - May 1996) [3]


In theory, this is possible, but there are no cases recorded. However, many Cambodians would not find this a problem based on sexual orientation (the term is unknown by the way). (Juan Pablo Ordonez - May 1996) [4]

Same-Sex Relationships

Same-sex relationships between women and between men are legal. There are no laws or court decisions that prohibit them. There is no difference between laws governing homo- and hetero- sexual prostitution. Sex acts between same-sex partners is usually accepted, and is not defined as homosexuality. There is no definition for them, they just happen. In terms of gender they make a difference between a man, a woman, and "neutral", or transgenders and transvestites. (Juan Pablo Ordonez - May 1996) [5]

Same-Sex Marriage

As per Cambodian law on marriage, stated in the Constitution, marriage between people of the same sex is illegal.[6]

Annual LGBT Pride Celebration

Cambodia's first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride celebration party was held in 2003 in the capital city of Phnom Penh. It is now a yearly event that openly celebrates the diversity of Cambodia. Once a taboo subject, the country is now much more progressive and there is an increasing acceptance among Cambodians. In 2006, about 400 Cambodians in the Gay and Lesbian communities came to support and celebrate Gay Pride.[7]


See also

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