Lahcen Haddad, the tourism minister of Morocco, has called for the decriminalisation of both homosexuality and consensual sex outside of marriage.
The self-described modern liberalist made the comments in an interview with CNN Arabic, where he said it was time to start a debate on LGBT rights in the Muslim-majority country.
He said: “We do not accept a display of one’s sexual tendencies for provocation, but if homosexuality is a personal orientation, practiced in private places, it falls within one’s personal freedom.”
Since making the comments, Lahcen has released a statement clarifying that, despite his views, his party currently has no plans to act on them.
He said: “Some electronic sites have issued a statement that was attributed to me, about homosexuality. I should say that the Popular Movement party has not taken a position on this matter and that this issue was not on our agenda.”
The Moroccan Penal Code currently punishes same-sex sexual activity with up to three years imprisonment under Article 489.