The constitution is expected to pass when the country's Parliament votes on it next Friday.
Homosexual acts are a crime under Zimbabwean law, including a law that proscribes sodomy which it defines as any act involving contact between two males that could be regarded as an indecent act - which could in theory include something as simple as hugging or holding hands.
The country's president, Robert Mugabe, who has overseen the country's spiraling decline from being one of the bread baskets of Africa to an economic and social basket-case, has proclaimed homosexuality as un-African, and branded gays and lesbians as "worse than pigs and dogs."
In August police arrested 44 members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, and later shut down the groupâs offices for "undermining the authority of the President."
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 and withdrew from the organisation, of which New Zealand is a foundation member, in 2003. The Commonwealth, a free association of countries and which evolved out of the British Empire, includes in its goals the establishment of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty and egalitarianism.