Last edited: October 31, 2004

Lebanese Group Begins Campaign for Gay Rights

Khaleej Times, October 21, 2004
United Arab Emirates, Head Office, Dubai, P.O. Box 11243
Tel: 04-3383535/3384545, Fax: 04-3383345/04-3383356

BEIRUT—A rights group has launched a campaign in Lebanon to overturn the country’s ban on homosexuality, in the first publicity offensive of its kind to take place in the Arab world.

The group, Hurriyyat Khassa (Private Liberties), started the campaign with a screening at the American University in Beirut of the British movie Victim which helped change the law banning homosexuality in Britain in the 1960s.

Pointing to recognition for the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the constitution, Hurriyyat Khassa is seeking to abolish Article 534 of Lebanon’s penal code, which stipulates a one-year jail sentence for ‘sexual intercourse against nature’. The screening of Victim was followed by a heated debate between activists fighting for gay rights and others who believe homosexuality flies in the face of public morality and religious beliefs.

“We chose Victim because this 1961 movie helped change the law in Britain,” explained a member of Hurriyyat Khassa, who did not wish to be identified.

“It had the same impact for homosexuals that the film In the Heat of the Night had for the battle against racism in the United States,” he said.

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