A Court of Appeals in the nation of Lebanon has ruled that homosexuality is not a crime. It is the highest court ruling regarding the legality of the LGBTQ in the country’s history.

There has been a long-term struggle in Lebanese society to legalize LGBTQ persons. Now a judge has officially stated that homosexuality ought not to be a crime.

In statute, Lebanon has long regarded homosexuality as an illegal act.

According to Gay Star News, “Lebanon criminalizes homosexuality with up to a year in prison under Article 534 of the Penal Code. Article 534 bans ‘unnatural’ sex. Even though it has not been used to jail anyone recently, authorities use it to intimidate the LGBTI community.”

As commenters have noted, the appellate court ruling is important. All prior hearings have occurred in the fora of criminal courts.

This ruling moves the debate out of a criminalized context.

The presiding judge, Randa Khoury, said that Article 534 was archaic and was not in line with Lebanon’s current stage of social development.

Khoury’s ruling argued that gay intercourse should not be considered criminal unless it was a public act, or if it was with a minor.

While the ruling does not fully legalize the LGBTQ community, it is a positive development.

The latest election in Lebanon occurred in May. The Kataeb party was the first political party in Lebanon’s history to make the legalization of homosexuality part of their platform; several politicians took up the charge.

The party did not fare well, but the breakthrough is regarded as important. The next step for liberation would require the Lebanese parliament to formally revoke the powers of Article 534.

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