Report: Lebanon court rejects anti-gay law

Logo of the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health
Logo of the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health

A court in Lebanon has ruled that homosexuality is natural and is not a criminal offense. [Contrary to an earlier version of this article, the ruling was not made by the Supreme Court in Lebanon.]

For English-speakers, details of the ruling must await a translation of an Arabic-language account of the decision. But a dispatch from Human Rights Watch provides helpful information about the decision.

[There is no confirmation of a statement contained in an early account of the ruling, stating that the court’s ruling included a declaration that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal.]

For the particular case before the court, the ruling set aside  Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which calls for a year in prison for men convicted of “sexual intercourse against nature.”

A separate French-language account of the court decision stated that a lower court in the Metn region east of Beirut ruled that Article 534 does not apply if homosexuality is exercised as a right and in a non-abusive way.

Last spring, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) challenged Article 534, arguing that because “homosexuality is a natural variation of human sexuality,” it should be exempt from the law forbidding sexual intercourse “against nature.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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