Officials for the
United Arab Emirates denied Wednesday that they would
force a group of gay men arrested during a same-sex
wedding ceremony to take hormone therapy, Agence
France-Presse reports. "There will be no forced
hormone treatment," an interior ministry official told the
French wire service. He did, however, say the therapy was optional.
Twenty-six men were arrested a week ago when
police raided a same-sex wedding in a hotel in a
desert resort town. Police say the men were wearing
wedding attire, including wedding gowns, when they were
arrested, according to the wire service. They face
flogging and up to five years in jail if convicted of homosexuality.
After the arrests a police official had told
reporters that the courts could order hormone
treatment if the men are convicted. But the interior
ministry said the treatment would be optional, according to
the wire service. "The judiciary as an independent
authority is the only entity that has the right to
issue the appropriate ruling in this case," said a
ministry official who spoke on a condition of anonymity.
The U.S. State Department has condemned the