LGBT rights in the Marshall Islands
|Status||Legal since 2005|
|Military||Has no military|
|Recognition of relationships||No|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Marshall Islands may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.
Homosexuality has been legal in the Marshall Islands since 2005. Despite this, households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples, as same-sex marriage and civil unions are not allowed. The country possesses no laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination.
In 2011, the Marshall Islands signed the "joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 2005. The age of consent is equal at 16, regardless of sex and sexual orientation.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Despite a lack of anti-discrimination protections, there have been no known reports of societal discrimination directed against LGBT people.
The Marshall Islands has a very limited gay scene. As of 2019, there are no known LGBT organizations in the country. Debates and discussions surrounding LGBT rights tend to be "well off the radar".
The Marshall Islands is home to a cultural "third gender" community, known in Marshallese as kakōļ. The term refers to men who "assume women's roles". Unlike many of their third gender counterparts in Oceania, such as the fa'afafine of Samoa or the fakaleiti of Tonga, the kakōļ typically do not cross-dress or identity as women. Instead, most kakōļ prefer to reveal their identity by wearing one item of women's clothing. They are thought to incorporate the strengths of both sexes, and thus serve an important role balancing the worlds of men and women. Kakōļ tend to have romantic relationships with typically masculine heterosexual men. The term jera refers to close relationships between people of the same sex, though not necessarily romantic or sexual. These relationships, also known as "male bonding", appear to be valued by the Marshallese.
A 2006 youth survey indicated that 4.3% of male youth in the Marshall Islands had had sex with a male partner sometime in their lives.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Since 2005)|
|Equal age of consent||(Since 2005)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military||Has no military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
- State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults Archived 19 July 2013 at WebCite
- MICRONESIA: A DIVERSE REGION WITH DIVERSE LGBTI LAWS
- LGBT Rights Across the World, Which are the Best and Worst Countries?
- "Over 80 Nations Support Statement at Human Rights Council on LGBT Rights » US Mission Geneva". Geneva.usmission.gov.
- MARSHALL ISLANDS 2015 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
- Ehmes, Delihna (2016). "Vol 2 Gender in the Pacific". Academia.edu. Center for Pacific Island Studies.
- "Pacfic Multi-Country Mapping And Behavioural Study: HIV and STI Risk Vulnerability Among Key Populations, Republic of the Marshall Islands" (PDF). Pacific Multi-Country Mapping and Behavioural Study. Suva, Fiji. 2016.
- Country factsheets: MARSHALL ISLANDS 2017