Last edited: March 27, 2004

Saudis Quiz ‘Gay Wedding’ Guests

BBC News, March 2, 2004

Saudi investigators are grilling some 50 people for allegedly attending a gay wedding in the city of Medina, a newspaper reported on Monday.

The suspects deny they were attending a gay marriage and say they took part in a ceremony to mark the wedding of a Chadian friend, Arab News said.

The accused Chadian told the police he was rehearsing for his legal marriage, which was planned for last Friday.

The incident has shocked Saudi Arabia, where gay marriage is banned.

An initial newspaper report last Friday claimed that police arrested guests at the wedding of an all-male couple from Chad.

Different stories

Police raided a rest house where the ceremony was under way after advice from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or religious police, Arab News reported.

Investigators say that invitations to last Wednesday’s ceremony indicated it was a gay function and point to the suspicious behaviour of guests.

They fled the venue at the sight of police cars and left some 30 vehicles behind, according to security sources.

But one of the two Chadians involved told the police that he was rehearsing for his legal marriage, to be held at a wedding hall last Friday.

His Saudi sponsor confirmed the man’s story and said he had given him money to meet the marriage expenses.

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