Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gay Iranian Takes Refuge in British Asylum

Mehdi Kazemi, a gay Iranian student was granted right to Asylum from Britain in order to escape possible conviction and death in his home country. After going to England to study, Kazemi discovered that his lover had been hanged by the Iranian government as punishment for breaking Iranian anti-sodomy laws. Most human rights groups believe that the law is a pretext for discrimination. While reading the original article I kept seeing similarities (with the exception of the death penalty) between this and the Texas anti-sodomy laws. The discrimination brought by the Iranian anti-sodomy laws kept reminding me of Lawrence v. Texas.

Link to original article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/05/20/international/i174955D23.DTL

10 comments:

Paul Slack said...

Well, I hope this doesn't sound bad or anything, but I'm surprised that this occurred in Iran. Let's face it, Iran's laws are unlike American laws, and Iran still does things a lot differently than most of the modern world. But yes, I agree that this does sound a lot like Texas v. Johnson. But unlike Texas v. Johnson, I don't think that there will be any anti-sodomy Supreme Court cases in Iran. As we all know, Iran is in the Middle East and is therefore made up of tons of Muslims. The Muslim religion and culture is very strict about following the rules and laws of its holy book. Hopefully, one day, Iran will change and stop discriminating.

Jacqueline said...

If there are countries that still want to follow archaic rules and laws, let them. But once they start forcing their ancient beliefs on others, they crossed the line.
The real problem here is seperating church and state. Religion is what governs the Heart, but Justice is, or rather should be, what governs the Mind.

Ziva said...

I know it is wistful thinking, but I don't think the laws in Iran will really ever change. A majority of the Arab countries in the Middle East have laws based on their religion. Like, for example, women covering their faces and hair. So, I think that if we say that Iran should change some of their laws that we find discriminatory towards people, it will be like telling them that their laws in their religion are wrong. Even though this has to do with sodomy, and not covering faces, I think it has the same sort of problem behind it. We can pressure Iran into having more civil rights, but I doubt if there will be much change because so many of their laws are based on their religion. I think it is easier said than done.

Emma Citrin said...

i agree, i don't think the iranian laws will change for a while. So, all that can be done is for other influential countries to take a stand and ensure that gay people are able to have the rights they deserve. By at least setting example, hopefully other nations will eventually follow.

Rochelle Chau said...

I agree with Paul. Muslims are very conservative, and I highly doubt that they would even consider having a discussion about anti-sodomy laws.

robbie armstrong said...

I agree with paul also there most likely wont be any change done because they wont have any place to have the law changed. This was a horrible thing to have happen, but it is going to have to take a huge change to have these conservative laws changed in the middle east.

jeff said...

Except for the fact that the punishment in the Texas law wasn't death by hanging. Although it's sad that Iran has discriminatory laws such as this one, I don't believe that its our place to try and change Iran's religious beliefs and if Iran chooses to have laws based on their religion then so be it.

yakov korovskiy said...

Well look whats happened in Iraq. We try to make groups that hate each other live peacefully even though their religion basically pits them up against each other. Our morals are different then theirs, and forcibly trying to change it obviously doesn't work. Trying to make them change their religion is only going to anger them. As for the Texas laws, Jeff brought up a great point that the punishments were completely different.

Ryan Landis said...

I think that people should be able to live how they want, aka one should be able to be whichever sexuality they want, and yes I know that goes against most republican beliefs. In regards to Britain taking in the refuge, I am very proud that they were willing to do that, even though I am not British. I think the US should look at Britain as an example because when we turn away refugees from Cuba to send them back to their deaths, it is pretty absurd. I wish Britain and the US could have been able to do that during the Holocaust.

Elaina Marshalek said...

To Ryan: If I'm supposed to do whatever I want, then does that justify me hanging someone who's a homosexual? What if it's my religious belief?
Yakov said it's a matter of changing religion, and that we shouldn't intervene. However, if a group thinks that it is their religious obligation to hurt us, our actions change.
I'm not surprised that this event happened, I'm actually surprised that it got so much attention already. Nowadays Iraqi women are getting killed if they get makeup--that's even more ridiculous.
Anyway, it truly depends if the US really has the power or the right to nose into Iran. They can't tell Iran "no you can't do that" as they are their own country. Also, if every time something like this happened, the US would be in a ridiculous amount of wars.