Iran Hangs Gay Teens
Two teenagers were imprisoned, beaten, and finally sentenced to death by hanging in Iran for the crime of consensual same-sex relations according to a report by the Iranian Student News Agency. The boys, one under the age of 18, endured 14 months in prison and 228 lashes, before being robbed of their lives on Tuesday, July 19, 2005.
Peter Tachell of the UK gay rights group, Outrage!, had this to say:
"According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule. The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government." (source)
Three other accused youth, who face similar execution charges, have gone into hiding.
While it may be tempting to dismiss Iranian law as the product of a distant brutal theocracy centuries behind our civilized society, I'm struck that the last state-sanctioned public hanging in the United States was only 1996. It was only two years ago that the United States decriminalized private consensual sexual conduct and only this year that the death penalty for juveniles was deemed unconstitutional.
I'm horrified at the authorities that would intrude on individuals most private and deeply intimate relationships - humiliate, shame, torture, imprison, beat, and finally squeeze the living breath out of two young boys. And, even more appalling, the justification of these unspeakable actions: invoking the name of a divine and loving Creator, citing a hurtful interpretation of scripture, and making false appeals to justice, morality, and the preservation of society. "We are only performing God's will. Who are we to question what God has decreed?"
However sincere, however devoutly committed to the literal "Truth", however deeply held our religious beliefs, the instant we place greater value on ancient precepts and traditions and moral absolutes - greater value on faith, the love of God, and, yes, even personal salvation - when we value these more than human compassion, more than human love and human life, we lose our own humanity.
Read more about this story at Direland: Iran Executes 2 Gay Teenagers
Send an email to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding the United States publicly condemn the gross violation of human rights of gay men and lesbians in Iran and around the world. Demand that the United States pressure its allies in the European Union to adopt a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Commission to condemn the violations of human rights in Iran, which the EU has refused to do for the past three years.