Monday, 23 March 2009

Equality now

The Lebanese elections are coming up! Will the politicians listen to the real voices of their people? Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code criminalizes "sexual acts against nature" and is used to target homosexuals and promote a general public hatred towards LGBTs in Lebanon.

It is high time we strongly demand that the government remove this article and ensure equality for all its population without discrimination.

We are asking Lebanese people only (in Lebanon and abroad) to sign this petition so that we reach 10,000 citizens whose voices cannot be ignored in our country any longer. Gay or straight—it doesn't matter.

Our cause is about human dignity and the right to protection. It is time we all stood together and recognized that none of us are free until all of us are free.

Once this petition hits 10,000 people, we will send it to all 128 members of the Lebanese parliament (hopefully right after the elections in June), as well as to the parliamentary human rights committee, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Social Affairs.

You can sign the petition online here.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Under 18's now admitted

The The BBC reports that the Lebanese parliament has finally lowered the voting age to 18... after many, many years. All that is needed is a constitutional amendment, apparently.

This could shift the electoral terrain, but not yet. According the the report:

It is expected to take several months and under-21s will not be able to vote parliamentary elections in June.

The measure is likely to benefit the Shia Muslim political groups Hezbollah and Amal who were pushing for a change.

The elections are expected to be hotly contested between Shia-led opposition allies and a Sunni-led pro-West bloc.

However, analysts believe the numbers of the Shia Muslim community are rising fastest, and gaining demographic strength at the expense of the once-dominant Christian community.

Some clauses of the electoral law were amended last year, but MPs initially opposed proposals for lowering the voting age and introducing a quota for women in parliament.