Activists Hail Lebanon Ruling that Could Protect Gay Rights

W460

Lebanese activists have celebrated a court ruling they say paves the way towards decriminalizing homosexuality in the country.

On Thursday, a Lebanese appeals court upheld the 2017 acquittal of nine people prosecuted over being gay.

A lower court had found in January that year that their homosexuality was "a practice of their fundamental rights."

Under a controversial article of the Lebanese penal code, sexual relations "against nature" are outlawed and punishable by up to one year in prison.

On Thursday, the Mount Lebanon appeals court found that, with this article, "legislators had not intended to criminalize homosexuality but rather offense to public morals."

The ruling means that "homosexual relations are not a crime, as long as they are between two adults and do not occur in a public space," said Karim Nammour, a lawyer and member of non-governmental advocacy organization Legal Agenda.

The verdict was the fifth of its kind, Nammour said on Tuesday, but the first by such a high-ranking court.

"The appeals court has a certain authority... It's higher in the hierarchy," he told AFP.

The ruling is "much more than symbolic. It could have repercussions on the way that lower court judges rule," he added.

Rights group Helem also celebrated the landmark ruling in a Twitter post on Friday.

"Congratulations for the LGBTQI+ community in Lebanon," wrote the group defending the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.

"The court of appeal endorses for the 1st time ruling by judge: Homosexuality is not a crime," it said in English. 

While Lebanon is considered more tolerant of LGBT issues than other Arab states, police still stage raids on gay nightclubs and other venues.

Homosexuality is also often ridiculed on television shows.

Comments 8
Thumb s.o.s 17 July 2018, 16:41

Good for Lebanon’s international reputation in these dark moments , we have lawlessness, a terrorist militia, no power, no running water but if you’re LGBTQI+ you’ll be somehow safe.

Missing rabiosa 17 July 2018, 17:18

It's time to abolish article 534 from the Lebanese penal code. Since you always claim you adhere to UN convention on human rights, then this is a human right. It's no ones business what two consenting adults do behind closed doors. We have enough problems of electricity, water, employment, housing, roads, refugees, etc... Leave people alone. Live and Let Live.

Thumb illiterate-Southern 17 July 2018, 18:07

Thank you southern for being patriotic and for posting as such.

It is comforting to know the shia khomeini resistance not only supports atheists like you and mowaten but also gays like s.o.s the terrorist. To be honest with you, I was shocked to learn of your revelations of s.o.s' sexual orientation. I always had my doubts about him but not about you.

Thank you again for not being afraid to reveal the truth no matter what the consequences might be. You have taught me courage knows no limits.

Please Keep Posting.
The World is Listening.

Thumb s.o.s 17 July 2018, 18:26

Rotflmao

Thumb s.o.s 17 July 2018, 18:26

Potatotric, you're the one always cheering for hizbalewat and its boss nasralewat so I took it for granted that you were gay-friendly. My bad. This being said, id much rather have my children being LGBTQI++ Than having them marry a mite.

Thumb fakenews 17 July 2018, 18:41

a country protetectd by the resistance to preserve the laws against the danger of wahhabi daeshist ideology

https://twitter.com/abuarabbeirut/status/993595748112617472

Thumb lubnani.masi7i 17 July 2018, 18:53

lool

but southern, sos seems to be on top of you:)!

Thumb s.o.s 17 July 2018, 20:35

Hahaha good one! :p