After criminal charges were filed by the Lebanese state against a transgender woman who had a “same sex relationship” with a man, the court ruled that homosexual relationships do not “contradict the laws of nature” and therefore cannot be considered a crime.
The Lebanese penal code states that sexual relations that contradict the “laws of nature” are punishable by one year in prison, but since the ruling disqualifies gay sex as being categorized as such, it’s a big step for gay rights in the Middle Eastern nation.
The decision comes on a wave of wins for Lebanese gay rights advocates. Last year the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) ruled that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated, saying:
The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.
Unfortunately, the ruling doesn’t mean the LGBT community in Lebanon is entirely out of hot water. Georges Azzi, the executive director for the Beirut based Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality told the Huffington Post:
Although the concept of legal precedent does not apply in Lebanon, hopefully this ruling will encourage more judges to make the right choice.
Hopefully it can be replicated in other Arab states which have similar legislation, but it is up to the judges to work with previous rulings and documentation.