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Saudi Arabia opposes .gay domain names

Aug. 14, 2012 at 6:12 PM   |   Comments

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia says it is opposed to the creation of Internet domain addresses ending in .gay, calling it "offensive" to some societies and cultures.

The country's Communications and Information Technology Commission has filed an official objection to the move with the organization overseeing the rollout of hundreds of new generic top-level domains, or gTLDs.

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers said in June it had received 1,930 requests for gTLDs which could be used as an alternative to .com, .org or other current options.

Icann confirmed Saudi Arabia's official objection to .gay addresses.

"Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion," Saudi Arabia's submission said.

"The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures. We respectfully request that Icann refuse the application for this gTLD."

Some British campaigners expressed dismay at Saudi Arabia's objections.

"Sites under .gay would be carefully regulated and would not 'promote homosexuality' but offer crucial support," a spokeswoman from The Lesbian and Gay Foundation told the BBC.

"Arguably it is even more important for people living in countries such as Saudi Arabia where homosexuality is illegal and sometimes punishable by death to access this crucial support and lifeline."

Icann said it would accept comments and objections to proposed new gTLDs until Sept. 26.

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