Rights group cheers Bhutan's move to legalize gay relations

A global rights group has welcomed Bhutan's move toward becoming the latest South Asian nation to decriminalize homosexuality.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom's lower house of Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to repeal provisions that said "unnatural sex" is illegal. The bill still needs to be passed by the upper chamber.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Sunday that taking steps to end the criminalization of same-sex relationships by Bhutan is "welcome."

Bhutan's move follows India, whose Supreme Court last year decriminalized homosexuality by declaring related British-era laws unconstitutional.