Is Homosexuality still a crime in Lebanon?
In the Lebanese Criminal Code, you will find one single article made of one single phrase condemning every “against the nature intercourse” of a maximum of one year in prison …
Article 534 of the criminal code was used as an applicable article by the courts to condemn homosexuals.
“Against the nature intercourse”…, meant the accused had to be caught in the actual intercourse, a simple accusation of having homosexual preferences was not sufficient to condemn a person according to that article.
You will be surprised to know that Lebanon was the first Arabic country to declare that a homosexual relation was not to be considered an “against the nature intercourse” anymore, and was not to be condemned by the law, and that article 534 was no longer applicable to homosexual intercourse.
This decision was first ruled out by a single judge on the 26th of January 2016, in a controversial but courageous move, and irrelevant of his or our personal opinion on homosexuality; but based on the main principal of law protecting personal freedom, and that every person is free to exercise its rights when this exercise is not trespassing other’s rights.
And that homosexuals had equal rights as any other person to have an intimate or sexual relation with the gender of their choice, without having their preferences imposed on them to be “appropriate to the majority’s nature” (as specified in the judge’s decision).
This decision was followed by many similar rulings until a higher court of Law, the court of appeal on the 12th of July 2018, asserted this precedent by declaring that homosexuality was no longer condemned by the article 534 of the criminal Law.
The court of appeal ruled that it was the courts’ obligation to follow the changes in social behavior and believes, since article 534 was applied to protect the community from any violation to decency and morals, and that with the social evolution, homosexuality was no longer considered by the society as being an “against the nature” relation, thus was no longer a matter to hurt the society’s believes and morals.
These decisions, and irrelevant of our believes or opinions about homosexuality show that we in Lebanon still have hope in our courts, that still can protect personal freedoms, and that are aware of the social evolution of beliefs and behavior and can evolve to a better understanding of society,
Hoping that legislators will follow that evolution in other matters of law…