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Friday, October 9, 1998 Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK

World: Africa

South Africa decriminalizes homosexuality

The highest court in South Africa has overturned apartheid-era laws criminalizing homosexuality.

The decision is in line with the post-apartheid constitution, which made South Africa one of the first countries in the world to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Under apartheid, the army sometimes used electric shocks as what it called aversion therapy for gays.

Gay rights campaigners have welcomed the court ruling.

They're now pressing for the legalization of same sex marriages in South Africa, as well as supporting fledgling campaigns in other southern African countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe where homosexuality is still illegal and where senior politicians often verbally abuse gay campaigners.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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