Malaysian wins landmark right to challenge Muslim gay sex ban

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05/27/2020

Malaysia’s top court has given the go-ahead for a man to challenge an Islamic ban on sex “against the order of nature”, his lawyer said on Wednesday, in a test case for gay rights in the mostly Muslim country. LGBT+ rights groups say Islamic laws have been increasingly used to target the country’s gay community, with a rise in arrests and punishments ranging from caning to jailing. The Muslim man in his 30s, whose name has been withheld by his lawyer to protect his privacy, filed the lawsuit after he was arrested in 2018 for attempting gay sex, which he denies. Same-sex acts are illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia, although convictions are rare. The country, which has 13 states, has a dual-track legal system, with Islamic criminal and family laws applicable to Muslims running alongside civil laws. The man argued that central Selangor state, site of his arrest, has no power to enforce an Islamic ban on “intercourse against the order of nature” when gay sex was already a crime under civil laws.

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