Lebanese Group Begins Campaign for Gay Rights
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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