SF residents protest six gay Iraqi murders

April 6, 2009 7:20:24 PM PDT
In the past several weeks, six Iraqi men have been killed for being gay. In Iraq, homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

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On Monday night in San Francisco, a handful of people held a protest in the Castro in an attempt to call attention to the killings.

Gay leaders like supervisor Bevan Dufty had hoped America's intervention in Iraq would bring more Democratic principles to that country.

"Given the investment in American lives and billions of dollars that have been spent, you would like to think that there isn't just absolute anarchy and people being executed for their sexual orientation," said Supervisor Dufty.

In 2005, religious leaders in Iraq called for homosexuals to be killed in the "worst, more severe way."

A year ago, the U.N. reported an increase in persecutions and killings of Iraqi gays and lesbians.

"Since the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime there has been a rise of fundamentalist religious militias around the country and it appears that recently there have been a lot of sermonizing against gays," said Dufty.

I would rather commit suicide than let my family find out I am gay, says an Iraqi.

There continues to be an anti gay sentiment in other predominantly Islamic countries.

In 2007 during a visit to Columbia University in New York, Iran's president was asked about reported executions of gays in Iran.

"In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran, we don't have this phenomenon like in your country," said Iran's president Mahmoud

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, seven countries still have capital punishment for homosexuality: Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen,

Roberto Odenana is with the San Francisco lesbian, gay bisexual transgender center.

"It just shows that LGBT people across the world are facing universal challenges for trying to live their lives as true as possible," said Odenana.

Gay leaders in San Francisco hope Monday's small rally and others around the world, will send a message around the world that these killings will not be tolerated.

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