Contact: Nathan Bupp
AMHERST, N.Y. (August 3, 2005) -- The Council for Secular Humanism, which works to promote values of secularism and democracy around the world, denounces in the strongest possible terms the recent hangings of two Iranian youths accused of committing homosexual acts. The two teenagers, identified only by their initials, A.M. and M.A., admitted to having gay sex but stated that they did not know that homosexuality was a capital offense. Press and TV news reports show that these two young boys were hung before crowds of people that cheered the hangmen while their parents pleaded for mercy, to no avail.
The Council urges widespread condemnation of these atrocious public hangings by the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the over 4,000 more executions of homosexual men and women in Iran since 1979, when the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. The Council calls on all friends of liberty to work to repeal Articles 144, 152, 154, and 155 of Iranian Law, which outlaw all manner of homosexual activity, much of it punishable by death, and which make even same-gender kissing illegal.
"Civilized nations of the world respect the right of privacy and the right of individuals to make their own choices; the democratic countries of the world respect the sexual orientations of its citizens," stated Paul Kurtz, chair of the Council for Secular Humanism. "This is a vital component of the democratic principle of civil liberties and the right of self-determination."
"The execution of homosexuals is a resort to barbaric methods of repression, and its practice by an Islamic country offends the conscience of humankind in the 21st century. Religions of violence that flout the ethical standards of the civilized world should be held accountable. We deplore these acts of homophobia and urge the leaders of the world's democracies to do the same."
The Council for Secular Humanism is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization that promotes rational inquiry, secular values, and positive human development through the advancement of secular humanism. The Council, publisher of the bimonthly journal Free Inquiry, has a Web site at www.secularhumanism.org.