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Belgium – SOGI Legislation Country Report (2013)

Jurisdiction in Belgium is shared between the federal government and a number of regional governments. This report discusses legislation operating at the federal level only.

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited, and may be punished by fine or imprisonment (Loi tendant à lutter contre certaines formes de discrimination, 2007).

Harassment in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited (Loi relative au bien-être des travailleurs lors de l’exécution de leur travail, 1996).

Evidence that an offence was motivated by hatred, contempt or hostility towards an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or self-identity is an aggravating factor at criminal sentencing (Penal Code).

The age of consent (16) is the same for same-sex and opposite-sex sexual activity (Penal Code).

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized at the federal level since 2003 (Civil Code).

Same-sex couples may enter into registered partnerships since 1998 (Civil Code).

Same-sex couples may jointly adopt children (Civil Code).

Individuals are able to change the sex on their birth certificates after having undergone a psychological evaluation and sex reassignment surgery (Civil Code).

Individuals who have started hormone treatment in order to induce the physical characteristics of their preferred gender may obtain a legal name change. (Loi relative aux noms et prénoms, 1987).

link to full text in PDF: Belgium-SOGI Legislation Country Report-2013-eng