According to Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code of 1962, any person who commits “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” may be sentenced to 6 months to 3 years of imprisonment and fined 120 to 1,000 Moroccan dirhams or approximately $15 to $150 U.S. dollars. Morocco, as well as many of its neighboring countries in the Middle East, enforces strict policies banning homosexuality today. Magharebia, an African news source, published and article quoting the Moroccan Ministry of Interior,“[our agenda] is to preserve citizens’ ethics and defend our society against all irresponsible actions that mar our identity and culture.” This was issued as a response to articles calling for greater homosexual tolerance published by “Kif Kif,” a gay rights organization based in Morocco. In recent years, Morocco’s LGBT community has fought for societal and governmental acceptance in a region where homosexuality has not been addressed as a human rights issue ever before.
“Homosexuality in Morocco is tolerated behind closed doors but repressed in public,” stated an article published in The Moroccan Daily. In 2007, six men were arrested and jailed for four to six months under Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code for holding a private party that was alleged by the Moroccan government to be a “gay marriage.” The men were charged with the evidence from a YouTube video of the party, however the video did not contain any sexual activity among the men. Human Rights Watch published an article stating, “Following the arrests [of the six charged men], hundreds of men and women marched through the streets of Ksar el-Kbir, denouncing the men’s alleged actions and calling for their punishment.” The protest reveals the social divide in regards to homosexuality acceptance in the region and demonstrates how passionately some are against the cause. Despite arrests and protests such as these, Moroccan government and society are gradually changing their views of the LGBT community.
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