Target: King Mohammed VI, Head of State of Morocco
Goal: End criminalization of homosexuality
As reformations in LGBT rights and issues continue to permeate the sociopolitical landscape of many nations, with much success, there are still countless countries responsible for upholding and executing draconian laws against LGBT people, their partners and families. The latest case comes from Morocco where six men were convicted of homosexual acts following an arrest for public drunkenness.
Police arrested the men in the small city of Fqih Bensalah after one of the defendants, in a drunken stupor, mistakenly allowed another man into his car believing it was a woman. When police spotted the activity, they believed the men were engaging in gay ‘cruising,’ or participation in homosexual prostitution, and harassed and threatened them, issuing charges that discriminate based on sexual orientation.
The Moroccan penal code includes charges of ‘lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex,’ and punishes these acts with six months to three years in prison and a fine of 200 to 1,000 dirhams (US $24 to $120), which is considered exorbitant for many poor Moroccans. Of the case Human Rights Watch director of Middle East and North African affairs states that ‘…whatever the sexual orientation of these six defendants, they should face criminal penalties because of it.’ There is no concrete evidence of homosexual activity ever occurring between the six men, but with that being said, Moroccan authorities shouldn’t interfere with consensual same-sex acts between adults or uphold the criminalization of homosexuality. Doing so is a direct violation of the right to privacy.
Further, this isn’t the first time that Morocco has convicted men under this ridiculous penal code. In 2007, another Moroccan city sentenced six men to prison after a YouTube video of a private party showed mild homosexual behavior between guests, to which the media described as a ‘lewd gay wedding.’
Criminalizing conceptual, adult homosexual conduct is, by definition, a human rights violation and Morocco should commit to the statements made in its constitution by abolishing this penal code. Sign the petition to urge Morocco’s Head of State, King Mohammed VI, to support LGBT rights and stop viewing homosexuality as an act of delinquency.
Dear King Mohammed VI,
The draconian and albeit ludicrous penal code criminalizing homosexuality needs to be abolished immediately for its violation of human rights and blatant discrimination. As a supporter of LGBT rights, I am shocked and appalled that Morocco continues to uphold and execute individuals on the basis of sexuality when, not too long ago, its constitution was revised to include a commitment to combatting ‘…discrimination against anyone because of gender, color, beliefs, culture, language, handicap, or whatever personal circumstance.’ This penal code not only contradicts your constitution but perpetuates discrimination and unnecessary hate against homosexuals living in your country.
If Morocco aspires to be a leader on human rights, the abolishment of laws that discriminate against the LGBT community should be its first step towards retribution. The private, homosexual acts of consenting adults should not be up for regulation or policing. I urge you to stop interfering in the lives of LGBT people in Morocco and recognize that gay rights are human rights, too.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Guillaume Paumier via Wikimedia Commons