Tunisia quashes LGBT report it recognized gay marriage

Tunisia’s president Kais Saied supports the criminalization of homosexuality. He has termed gay people “deviants” and favors Sharia law. He defends capital punishment.

Berlin – The Republic of Tunisia has denied a report from the Tunisian LGBTQ organization Shams that the North African country recognized same-sex marriage, dashing hopes for marriage equality among gays and lesbians in the Arab world.

Gay marriage was not recognized, and the news was a false story, Local Affairs Minister Lotfi Zitoun said Tuesday at a parliamentary hearing, according to a French-language story on the Webdo Tunis website.

On Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Tunisian LGBTQ organization Shams had announced on Facebook: “For first time in the history of Tunisia and the Arab world, a gay marriage contract between a man of French nationality and another of Tunisian nationality is officially recognized in Tunisia.”

“This ruling is disappointing but not unexpected,” LGBTQ activist and human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told the Post on Wednesday. “A same-sex marriage conducted in France appeared to be recognized by default by the Tunisian authorities, possibly due an administrative oversight.”

“The Tunisian government has now confirmed that it does not recognize such marriages,” he said. “This dashes the hopes of LGBT couples in the Arab world that their love could finally secure recognition and rights in one of their own countries. Despite this setback, the global battle for LGBT+ rights continues, and there will eventually come a day when Arab and Muslim countries will grant same-sex marriage and other LGBT+ rights.”

Shams president Mounir Baatour had previously issued a series of tweets about the groundbreaking marriage. “While homosexuality is still punished with prison in Tunisia, and several gay people are currently in Tunisian prisons, a gay marriage has just been included in the birth certificate of a Tunisian,” he wrote.

A marriage agreement between a French man, 31, and a Tunisian man, 26, was legally recognized in the North African country, Shams said.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry did not respond to a Post press query on Monday.

Shams seeks to decriminalize homosexuality in Tunisia.

Tunisian President Kais Saied supports the criminalization of homosexuality. He has termed gay people deviants, favors Sharia law and defends capital punishment.

Homosexuality is illegal in Tunisia.

by Benjamin Weinthal
Source – The Jerusalem Post