The Lebanese LGBT community celebrated a huge legal victory last week when Judge Rabih Maalouf failed to prosecute a gay couple for having sexual relations. Though homosexuality is illegal in Lebanon, there is no actual law prohibiting it. Instead, gay men are prosecuted under Article 534, which states that “any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature is punishable” by up to a year in prison. With no clear definition of “order of nature,” this law is open to interpretation. Maalouf’s ruling was partially based on Article 183, another penal code provision that protects freedom of expression. “Homosexuality is a personal choice, and is not a punishable offense,” said Maalouf.
February 4 / Washington Blade