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The age of consent is set equally at 18 years of age. Members of the police force and the military are nevertheless subject to different legal standards. The National Police Law of Spanish: Previously, the Criminal Code criminalized any act that was deemed to be in violation of "decorum and good behavior" in public, and imposed fines and up to two years imprisonment. This law was sometimes used by police officers to harass, fine or jail same-sex couples who engage in public displays of affection.

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The family law statutes of the Dominican Republic do not recognize any legal status between persons of the same-sex, neither marriage nor any marriage-like relationship like civil partnerships or domestic partnerships. The Constitution was amended in to read in Article 55 that: The ruling was fully binding on Costa Rica and sets a binding precedent for other Latin American and Caribbean countries including the Dominican Republic.

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Several Dominican legal experts have since announced that the Dominican Republic must legalise same-sex marriage and implement the IACHR ruling in due course. Ley General de Juventud No. Discrimination on account of sexual orientation or gender identity is not illegal in areas such as employment, education, housing, health care, banking, transportation, government services and public accommodations. As a result, many LGBT people feel the need to remain in the closet and reports of anti-gay discrimination are quite common.

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From to , official sources reported the murder of at least 14 transgender sex workers. A new Penal Code that included provisions banning hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation was expected to take effect in December , but it was deemed unconstitutional shortly before taking effect by the Constitutional Court because its sections regarding abortion were "plagued with irregularities and violations".

However, President Danilo Medina vetoed it in December , asking deputies to legalise abortion in cases of rape, incest and saving the mother's life. The two deputies stated that abortion should be regulated in a separate law, and complained that this issue had delayed the enactment of other important measures.

If finally approved, the Penal Code would provide penalties of between 30 to 60 years imprisonment for hate crimes. In addition, those who cause torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to anyone because of their sexual orientation could be sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison.

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Citizens of the Dominican Republic have a constitutional right to access health care services. Transgender people in the Dominican Republic are not allowed to change their legal gender and name to reflect their gender identity. In June , President Danilo Medina issued an executive decree granting 35 transgender Dominicans the possibility to change their legal name so that it matches their gender identity. The socially conservative mores of the Catholic Church and evangelical Protestant denominations hold significant sway in both public policy and prevailing attitudes surrounding LGBT rights.

Recent reports suggest that signs of a visible, politically active LGBT community are often targets of a government crackdown, often with the support of religious leaders. In the summer of , several gay clubs and bars in Santo Domingo were shut down as part of a program of police harassment. In , members of the police department crashed the LGBT Pride Parade in Santo Domingo and arrested individuals at the parade on the ground that marchers were improperly using the Dominican Republic's flag.

Due to the majority of residents having conservative views, including opposition to homosexuality, the major political parties in the Dominican Republic have not expressed much public support for LGBT rights legislation. Former U. Brewster was often the target of insults from religious leaders and some politicians due to his sexual orientation. Evangelical groups started an unsuccessful petition asking the Government to expel him from the country, and called on Brewster to "go home and cook since he's married to a man.

During an April LGBT conference held in Santo Domingo , Minister of Women's Affairs Janet Camilo, speaking on behalf of the Dominican Government, said that "everyone should be equal under the law and in society" and that the Government was "doing everything possible to build and fight for equality, for an inclusive society for everyone.

Prostitution has become a harsh necessity for some members of the LGBT community, who find it difficult to earn their living in the formal economic sector because of high levels of discrimination and harassment that LGBT people often face. Poverty, drug addiction and violence often surround the men and transgender people who become prostitutes.

Trans Always Friends is another Dominican Republic-based organization that promotes respect, fairness, and leadership among the transgender community.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Agence France-Presse.

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