Authorities in Saudi Arabia are investigating the authenticity of video clips that appear to show a gay wedding ceremony in the conservative Islamic kingdom, The New Arab reports.
The video clips show two young men, dressed in traditional Saudi garments, walking down an aisle to music and being sprayed by confetti by male onlookers.
— علي السليطي (@AliAlSliti01) January 3, 2018
According to Saudi news site al-Marsd, the wedding was held last week in the Aradiyat governate near Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. While some sources believe the videos may be a hoax, the site reports that those involved in the ceremony have been arrested following raids.
Aradiyat official Ali bin Youssef al-Sharif says the detainees are currently being investigated in preparation for their referral to a public prosecutor. He also warns Saudis that they must adhere to the “morals and virtuous values of this blessed country.”
After the alleged same-sex wedding videos went viral last week, many Saudis expressed outrage on YouTube and social media.
منذ عام 2013 وظاهره المثليين تتزايد بمكه ولعل هذا يقود إلى الاستجابه لمطالب الشرفاء بأهميه تطهير مكه من هذا الفساد الذي أغلبه من الاجانب #مواليد_السعودية #زواج_مثليين_بمكة
هذا خبر اليوم((تحقيقات موسعة مع عدد من الشبان أقاموا حفلاً لزواج شابين #مثليين في #العرضيات )) pic.twitter.com/FROZHpmIjk
— alhothly (@MARAMSAAD3322) January 3, 2018
“In the purest spot on earth,” one Twitter user scoffed. “Two homosexuals marry in Saudi Arabia.”
“Since 2013, the phenomenon of homosexuality has been increasing in Mecca, and perhaps the response for respectable people is to purge Mecca of this corruption, which stems mainly from foreigners,” tweeted another.
Others have been more positive about the event, praising the country’s move into the modern age under its young new leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia has remained firm, however, in its stance that consensual same-sex activity is punishable by flogging, imprisonment, or death. Last year the nation’s government declared that even Saudi citizens who come out online could face the death penalty.
A United Nations resolution banning the death penalty for homosexuality was opposed last year by a total of 13 countries in the U.N. Human Rights Council, including Saudi Arabia and the U.S.