EntertainmentIraq enacts harsh laws against LGBTQ community

Iraq enacts harsh laws against LGBTQ community

Iraq introduces penalties for being in a same-sex relationship.
Iraq introduces penalties for being in a same-sex relationship.
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9:57 AM EDT, April 29, 2024

The Iraqi government has taken severe measures against the LGBT community by enacting a law that penalizes homosexual and transgender relationships, making love punishable by 10 to 15 years in prison.

The acceptance of same-sex relationships remains a contentious issue globally. Instances of mockery, finger-pointing, or threats are common against couples displaying affection in public. Unfortunately, this intolerance can escalate to physical violence, even in nations regarded as progressive.

Regular attacks on LGBT individuals for their mere existence highlight the ongoing struggle for acceptance. Some countries have gone as far as to ban all forms of same-sex relationships legally, subjecting individuals to imprisonment.

Iraq declares war on love

On Saturday, April 27, the Iraqi parliament approved a law imposing penalties on those in same-sex relationships. This legislation specifically targets homosexual and transgender individuals with imprisonment ranging from 10 to 15 years.

Officials have justified this draconian measure as necessary to uphold religious values and safeguard Iraqi society from what they perceive as moral decline and global calls for acceptance of homosexuality.

The legislation also bans biological sex changes on request and wearing clothes typically associated with the opposite gender, offenses that could result in up to three years in prison. Originally, the law even contemplated the death penalty or life imprisonment for same-sex relationships, but these proposals were later revised. The law garnered the support of 170 parliament members.

International outcry over Iraqi legislation

The U.S. State Department has openly criticized the law for violating human rights and freedoms. Amnesty International and the director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, Rasha Younes, have condemned the law's implications: "rubber-stamps Iraq’s appalling record of rights violations against LGBT people and is a serious blow to fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and association, privacy, equality, and nondiscrimination."

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