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Britain: Persecuted Gays, Women May Seek Asylum

The House of Lords Issues Protective Landmark Ruling

England is Set to Welcome Homosexual Tourist Dollars

By Jack Nichols

welcomeuk.gif - 14.16 K London--In a landmark decision with worldwide implications, Britain's House of Lords, the highest court in the land, has ruled that gay males and battered women persecuted on account of their "sexual identity" may seek asylum in Great Britain.

Until now, only persons persecuted for political reasons have been allowed entry.

The case of two Pakistani women, whose government reportedly had abused and threatened them, were the catalysts behind last week's momentous ruling by the Law Lords. It is believed that thousands of gays and abused women may soon seek shelter beneath the Union Jack.

Muslim nations, with only a few exceptions, grant men rights unknown to women. In mid-decade, for example, approximately 25 women were arrested in Saudi Arabia for attempting to drive automobiles without licenses they are denied by law.

Homosexual behavior, although nowhere condemned in Islam's holy text, the Quran, can often be punishable, nevertheless, by death-sentences renowned for cruelty. In Iran, for example, one convicted of same-sex passion may choose to be halved by a sword, stoned, buried alive or hanged. Such punishments vary in severity from one Islamic state to another.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
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A perusal of the anti-gay penal code passed by Iran's fundamentalist parliament in 1982 gives evidence of the insanity that motivates homophobic nit-pickers in some nations. "One may become aware of the complexities and intricacies of Iranian sex laws and appreciate the extraordinary flatulence of their creators," writes one critic.

According to Article 152, if two men not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge's discretion. Gay teens (Article 144) are also punished at a judge's discretion. Rubbing one's penis between the thighs without penetration (tafheed) shall be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English- speaking world as "frottage" is punishable by death if the "offender" is a non-Moslem.

If frottage is thrice repeated and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth "offense" both men will be put to death.

Judges in the House of Lords, voting 4-1, said that the Pakistani women whose case was before them had been left unprotected in their native land and that they thus formed "a particular social group" under the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees.

This ruling should also affect the case of an openly gay Iranian male refugee the question of whose admittance has remained in limbo. British Immigration law has had no way, until now, to determine if homosexuals do, in fact, truly constitute a "social group".

Lavender Tourist Dollars to be Welcomed in England

In April, the British Tourist Authority, a government agency, plans to welcome "the lucrative international gay travel market" and is hoping to tempt large numbers of holiday revelers to Merry Old England.

England is the birthplace, the Authority's advertising will stress, of gay icons/performers like Sir Ian McKellen, Boy George, Elton John, and Rupert Everett.

Some gay and lesbian businesspersons are beginning to report a major shift in governmental attitudes. Sue Nichols, who represents an annual gay festival on the south coast of England, exults: ``Official bodies are beginning to understand the public is more tolerant than they are. They tend to err on the side of caution. This (tourist planning) introduces an air of normality. We are the same as anyone else.'"

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