Tunisia may have become first Arab country to recognize gay marriage

An LGBTQ group in Tunisia says the Arab state has recognized a same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Gay marriage
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
BERLIN – The Tunisian LGBTQ organization Shams announced on its Facebook page on Friday that the Republic of Tunisia has recognized same sex marriage.
Shams wrote: “For first time in the history of Tunisia and the Arab world, a gay marriage contract between a man of French nationality and another of Tunisian nationality, is officially recognized in Tunisia.”
President of Shams, Mounir Baatour, who favors diplomatic relations with Israel, issued a series of tweets about the groundbreaking marriage. He wrote: “While homosexuality is still punished with prison in Tunisia, and several gay people are currently in Tunisian prisons, a gay marriage has just been included in the birth certificate of a Tunisian.”
The Jerusalem Post sent a press query to Tunisia’s foreign ministry on Monday.
 
Shams seeks to decriminalize homosexuality in the North African country.

In March, The Jerusalem Post reported that Shams announced that a court recognized its legal status in response to efforts by the Muslim-majority state to close the group.
Mounir Baatour termed the victory a “success of which I am very proud. SHAMS… became legal after years of legal battle. We won… against the many post-revolutionary political-judicial regimes! This is not the least of my satisfactions. To my knowledge, SHAMS is now the only legal association [advocating for LGBTQ rights] in the Arab-Muslim world. This is not nothing and offers us hardly believable opportunities, sometimes beyond our borders.”
 
Commenting, LGBTQ and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told the Post: “This recognition of a gay marriage is a milestone in the Arab world.
 
“But it is indirect recognition and not the legalization of marriage between same-sex couples. Even if it is appealed or overturned, this is a breakthrough that will give hope to LGBT+ people in Tunisia and across North Africa and the Middle East.”