By Padraic Murphy
A man whose marriage to an Australian woman fell apart after he began frequenting gay clubs has been recommended for asylum because she outed him to his family in Lebanon.
The Lebanese Muslim man came to Australia in 2008 after being sponsored by his Australian wife, whom he met at a barbecue.
A Refugee Review Tribunal decision said the woman became suspicious of her husband after he had difficulty consummating the marriage. He also began having sex with men.
The tribunal said he began frequenting Prahran gay clubs, including the Love Machine, before the marriage finally fell apart.
The man's original application for asylum failed and he took his case to the review tribunal.
This month the tribunal overturned the original decision, describing the man as a "courageous witness". It found he genuinely faced persecution because his wife had told relatives in Lebanon about his sexuality.
"Despite the popular view that Lebanon is the gay-friendliest country in the Arab world, some activists say that behind closed doors, sexual minorities often suffer physical and psychological abuse," the tribunal found.The tribunal also rejected suggestions the man could return to Lebanon if he suppressed his homosexuality.
"Consequently, the tribunal accepts that to require the applicant to modify his behaviour in the event that he returns to Lebanon by concealing or suppressing his homosexuality, including the nature of his relationship with the witness, would amount to a persecutory curtailment of his sexual identity," the tribunal found.The man's case will now be reconsidered by the Immigration Minister before a final asylum decision is made.
"The tribunal therefore finds that there is more than a remote chance that the applicant will encounter serious harm ... in the reasonably foreseeable future, should he return to Lebanon."