Minister of Interior declares: ‘Lebanon is against sodomy’

Marwan Charbel, Lebanon’s Minister of Interior declared that being gay is illegal and ‘wondered’ if married French gays should be allowed to enter the country

Minister of Interior declares: ‘Lebanon is against sodomy’
04 May 2013

Lebanese Minister of Interior, Marwan Charbel, declared publicly on TV that Lebanon is against ‘sodomy’ and rhetorically wondered if married gay French couples should be allowed to enter Lebanon.

During an interview with Al Jadeed TV, Charbel referred to gays in an extremely derogatory religious term, ‘liwat’, referring to the cursed people of Lot, roughly translated as ‘sodomy’ and sometimes used to denote the meaning of ‘fags’.

He said: ‘Lebanon is against liwat and according to Lebanese law it is a felony.

‘And I wonder, after France allowed gay people to marry, should we allow them to enter Lebanon?’

The announcement comes shortly after Antoine Shakhtoura, mayor of the Beirut suburb Dekwaneh, had six gay and trans club-goers arrested and transported in car boots to the police station where they were forced strip naked, photographed, beaten and humiliated, in a incident reported by GSN last week.

Lebanese LGBT activists, some of whom participated in a protest against the abusive arrest and beatings last week, dismissed and crticized the minister’s statement.

Speaking with Gay Star News, Bertho Makso, owner of Lebanon’s only gay friendly travel company, said: ‘Charbel is very ready to allow radical Muslims to break the law, while his anti-gay comment is pure ignorance.

‘Firstly, the law he refers to, article 534, prohibits sex acts "contradicting the laws of nature", which is punishable by up to a year in prison, which is not a felony.

‘Secondly, in 2009, Lebanese judge in Batroun ruled that gay sex does not “contradict nature” making the article redundant in this instance.

‘Thirdly, LGBT tourists are enjoying the hospitality here, even if the minister wanted to prohibit entry to married gays he couldn’t legally do it, and many tourism professionals simply laughed off his ludicrous remarks.’

Joseph Aoun, manager of Beirut’s gay bar Bardo told GSN: ‘We’ve had enough with homophobic rants and now we’re answering back working with Helem and the Lebanese LGBT media monitoring group.

‘We’re asking people to use a Facebook and Twitter profile picture which substitutes the two red lines of the Lebanese flag with the word ‘rights’ in Arabic and a rainbow colored cedar tree until the 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia.

‘We are also running an "Equality Marathon" and started a blog for people to exchange ideas about further developments.’

Georges Azzi, the executive director for the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, commented to GSN: ‘the minister has failed to fight the real threats facing the country, such as illegal weapons and kidnapping.

‘Like any other decision maker who fails to achieve his duties he looks for a scapegoat and someone to blame – this time the LGBT community.’

Earlier today (5 May), the minister’s press office published a ‘clarification’ on Facebook stating Charbel wasn’t passing a judgment, merely stating that while gay marriage was recently legalized in France it is still prohibited in Lebanon.

Johnny Tohme, member of Helem, a Lebanese LGBT advocacy group, commented: ‘What makes me laugh, is that you say gays are leading to country into ruin, but those who follow our history see that destruction and corruption is simply the fruit of politicians, social and religious radicals’.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

What happened at the Sydney Mardi Gras Harbor Party?

Thousands partied at the event including Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters, Keisza and Samantha Jade
No thumbnail available

Civil Unions now taking place in Hawaii and Delaware

There are now five states in the U.S. where such same-sex unions are legal
No thumbnail available

Hawaii Attorney General confirms state can pass gay marriage law

Hawaii’s Attorney General has said that his state’s constitution does not ban same sex marriage – it only gives lawmakers the power to do so if they choose to – paving the way to same-sex couples marrying there
No thumbnail available

Malaysia's top court upholds sodomy conviction against opposition leader

Judge says allegations of conspiracy are 'unsubstantiated by any facts'
British singer Samantha Fox's partner and manager Myra Stratton has died

British singer Samantha Fox's partner and manager Myra Stratton has died

Stratton had been battling cancer for the past two years
No thumbnail available

Actress Audra McDonald to appear on HBO as jazz legend Billie Holiday

'Playing Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill on Broadway was one of the most challenging and artistically rewarding experiences of my career...'
No thumbnail available

'People think we are powerless and voiceless, but we have enormous power'

Sunil Pant has come along way from not even knowing the word for gay before he was twenty to getting LGBTI rights recognized by the Supreme Court in Nepal, and he's not going to let current troubles hold him back
No thumbnail available

Korea university students ban anti-gay hate

Korea University council is the first student body to ban discrimination against LGBTI people
No thumbnail available

Read what Laverne Cox has to say about Caitlyn Jenner and trans beauty

Orange Is The New Black shows off her intelligence once again
Trans woman who heckled Obama at White House says it was 'critical opportunity' she had to take

Trans woman who heckled Obama at White House says it was 'critical opportunity' she had to take

Jennicet Eva Gutiérrez: 'If my organizations had been too concerned with respectability and politeness, our voices would still be silenced'