darakAmman: Jordanian authorities have arrested 10 “gays and lesbians” for holding a get-together at a party hall in east Amman.

“The administrative governor of the Marka area, Adnan Qatarneh, ordered the arrest of the 10 gays and lesbians after they held a reception at a party hall on Wednesday (February 26) to get to know each other,”  a security official told AFP in a report appearing in timesofisrael.com.

“The arrests were made to prevent a disturbance of the peace,” he added, without elaborating on February 27.

Homosexuality is not illegal in the conservative desert kingdom, although it is widely seen to be unacceptable.

“There are no laws in Jordan to deal with homosexuality cases,” another security official said. ”It is up to administrative governors to decide how to handle such issues, including any period of detention.”

In its latest human rights report on Jordan, the US State Department said gays face discrimination there.

“Legal and societal discrimination and harassment remained a problem for women, religious minorities, religious converts, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” the report said.

A second security official said: “There are no laws in Jordan to deal with homosexuality cases.

“It is up to administrative governors to decide how to handle such issues, including any period of detention,” according to a report in pinknews.co.uk

The LGBT rights in Jordan page from Wikipedia says that since 1951 non-commercial homosexual conduct and consensual sodomy with the age of consent set at 16 is legal and that Jordan has several legal homosexual-themed publications in the media.

However, homosexuality is largely viewed as a perversion and dishonorable act even though in recent years there is some tolerance and visibility of homosexuality in certain artistic or chic-cosmopolitan parts of Jordan, especially in Amman.

The Jordanian penal code does not permit family members to beat or kill a member of their own family whose “illicit” sexuality is interpreted as bringing “dishonor” to the entire family.

Yet in 1999, a Jordanian family living in the United States repeatedly beat their adult daughter and attempted to forcibly return her home after they discovered that she was gay. A gay Jordanian who fled to Canada talked about similar acts of violence committed by family members who felt that his sexual identity was bringing dishonor to the family.

As of 2013, no law exists or has been proposed in the Jordanian parliament to address sexual identity-based discrimination or bias motivated crimes.

Same-sex marriages, or more limited civil unions, are not legally recognized in Jordan and there is no public effort in Jordan to modify these laws.

Source: timesofisrael.com, pinknews.co.uk, en.wikipedia.org