BEIRUT — Members of the Lebanese parliament have for the first time introduced a bill to decriminalize same-sex relationships. The proposed legislation aims to repeal Article 534 of the Penal Code, which prohibits "any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature" with a penalty of up to one year in prison.
Only made public in recent weeks, likely due to a leak in parliament, the bill had been introduced in early July by nine representatives, including independent members from Forces of Change and Christian parties.
A leak would not be an irrelevant detail in this case given subsequent events. Public circulation of the bill has intensified the backlash against the Lebanese LGBTQ+ community on multiple fronts.
Paula Yacoubian, a parliamentarian for Forces of Change and a signatory to the bill, told Al-Monitor that she had hoped to decriminalize same-sex relationships following her election in 2018.