The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has welcomed the ruling of the UK’s Supreme Court granting Asylum in the UK to two gay men who face persecution if they are forced to return to their home countries.

(HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] UKSC 31).

GALHA has long campaigned for the right of LGBT people who can demonstrate that they face persecution based on their sexuality to be granted a safe haven in the UK. This is part of the general Humanist conviction that we have a duty to help all people who have a well founded fear of persecution, whatever the grounds.

GALHA Chair Adam Knowles commented:

“The right of Asylum goes to the heart of our belief as Humanists that we have a duty to help our fellow human beings when they are in danger, or are faced with real threats of violence, or the denial of the right to a private life. Humanists believe that rights should apply universally wherever you are, whoever you are. It follows that persecution must be opposed, whatever the motivation. This most emphatically includes persecution of gay people.

“In particular we welcome the repudiation of the noxious nonsense that “behaving discreetly” is somehow a reasonable response to threats to gay people which may include imprisonment, violence or death, whether at the hands of the state or with its connivance. The right to share your life in a loving relationship with another person is a fundamental one, for gay and straight alike, and for most of us the possibility of such a loving relationship fully lived out is central to our idea of a good, and happy life. In too many countries gay people are still cruelly denied this possibility.

“We welcome the Coalition’s willingness to respect this decision, and very much hope that this promising start will be sustained in future decisions, not just about gay rights, but about human rights in general.”

“We hope that the Government will keep up the pressure on all those countries which persecute any of their citizens, because of their sexuality or for any other reason. We also hope the government will encourage friendly countries to follow its example in granting asylum in similar cases.

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