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LGBT rights in Jordan

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Jordan is generally seen as a moderate Muslim nation and although the criminal code makes no explicit distinction between private, adult and consensual heterosexual and homosexual relationships, Jordanians are quite religious and Islam, like some interpretations of other Abrahamic religions, looks critically upon homosexuality[1].

ConstitutionEdit

The Constitution does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity, it was written in 1952, but it does have certain articles that could apply to its LGBT citizens. [1].

  • Article 2 - Islam is the Official State Religion.
  • Article 7 - "Personal freedom shall be guaranteed."

The Constitution also stipulates the freedom of speech, press and freedom to create political parties and groups shall be peaceful and regulated by the law.

Penal CodeEdit

Private, adult and consensual sodomy was decriminalized by the Penal Code of 1951[2]. The age of consent is 16.

  • Article 306 punishes people who offer or solicitate sex from anyone under sixteen with up to six months in prison.

Today, homosexuality is not a crime provided that it is noncommercial and occurs between consenting adults in private. However, vigilante honor killings are relatively common. In 2000 and 2003 the Jordanian parliament rejected efforts to repeal Article 340 of the national crime code that provides a legal protection for perpetrators of honor killings under certain circumstances [3], although more recent report suggest that the law has been repealed [4]

A handful of upper-class LGBT Jordanians have fled to western nations, mainly Canada, and reported on the physical abuse they faced by their family [5]. This abuse does not appear to be official government policy, although the government seems reluctant to come to the aid of such an unpopular class of people [6].

Press LawEdit

The National Press Law (aka "Press and Publication Law") was amended in 1998, and again in 2004. The initial document prohibited the depiction or endorsement of "sexual perversion", which may have included homosexuality [7]. The revised edition in 2004 has a few provisions of direct impact on gay rights in Jordan. First of all, the content ban on 'sexual perversion' is replaced with a general requirement that the press "respect the values of....the Arab and Islamic nation." and that that press must also avoid encroaching into people's private lives [8].

Civil RightsEdit

No civil rights legislation exists to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The government funded National Center for Human Rights (created in 2006) has not yet dealt with LGBT human right issues or the AIDS-HIV pandemic [2].

There are no known government-recognized LGBT community or human rights organizations, and no Jordanian political parties have expressed any support for LGBT legislation. The "Political Parties Law" of 1992, does not formally ban a LGBT-supportive political parties or organization from forming, although such a group would need, at least, fifty adult citizens [3] expressing a public intent to organize.

Today, a handful of unofficial LGBT organizations exist online, such as the Yahoo club "Amman Rainbow". However, no real LGBT political movement exists.

Recent reports suggest, that although a large number LGBT are in the closet, and who often have to lead double lives, a new wave of younger LGBT are beginning to come out of the closet and are becoming more visible in the country, this resulted in establishing a vibrant LGBT community of filmmakers, journalists, writers, artists and other young professionals.[4] with only a few young Jordanians of the upper class able to remain single. New official hangouts have sprung up, such as the RGB club in Jabal Amman, as well as several gay hangouts, such as Books@cafe also in Jabal Amman. It has been said that Jabal Amman represents Amman's smaller version of a Gay Village.

AIDS/HIVEdit

It is not clear how many people are living in Jordan with HIV or AIDS, but it is likely to be around 600 - 1,000 people with most of the infections coming from people engaging in unsafe sex [9]. The Ministry of Health has an AIDS-HIV prevention and education program, although as is the case in much of the Middle East, the ignorance about the disease is common place [10]. As part of its prevention programs, the Foreign Ministry requires blood tests for foreigners who apply for visas longer than the standard 3-month tourist visa.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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