First anti-gay gTLD opponent emerges

Kevin Murphy, July 30, 2012, 13:17:19 (UTC), Domain Policy

The first public objections have been filed against applications for the .gay generic top-level domain.

Abdulaziz Al-Zoman reckons .gay shouldn’t be allowed because being gay is “against the law and public morality” in many countries, according to a comment that he filed against all four .gay applications.

Here’s the whole comment:

ICANN is dealing and playing a very strong role in worldwide public policies. It sets global public Internet-related policies that effect many worldwide societies and communities with verity of values and cultures. Therefore, ICANN MUST adhere and respect these cultures and values and not to impose its own “western” culture and values to other communities.

If “gay” is an accepted activity in USA it does not mean it is also accepted or welcomed elsewhere. ICANN should not enforce western culture and values into other societies. It should not ignore other society’s values. If the new gTLD programs had been limited to the United States, the homeland of ICANN, then it might be accepted to have the applied-for gTLDs strings (.gay). In spite of this, even if these strings (.gay) represent a permitted western standard of expressions, ICANN should not impose it globally upon the rest of the world. ICANN should not ignore the fact that activities related to this string are considered criminal act or unlawful in some parts of the world. Furthermore, ICANN should stick to GAC principles that call for respecting the sensitivity regarding terms with national, cultural, geographic and religious significance.

The applied-for gTLD string (gay) is not welcomed in many societies and communities and is against the law and public morality. ICANN should work for the benefit of all societies. It should not indulge itself in prompting and expanding western culture on the Internet. If it is really desired and needed in the ICANN home community (USA), then it can be provided under the .us TLD (e.g., gay.us) but not in the worldwide root space.

Al-Zoman appears to be referring to Saudi society, which has about as slim a grasp on morality as you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Sadly, his comments are likely a precursor to a battle within ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee over whether a formal GAC objection to .gay should be filed.

This is Big Question stuff.

Should ICANN operate according to the internet’s principles of openness, fairness and inclusion, or should it make its decisions based on demands emerging from medieval, theocratic backwaters?

You can probably guess what my opinion is.

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Comments (14)

  1. Alex Hosselet says:

    I might register HotSaudiStuds.gay – just for the heck of it!

  2. Acro says:

    He has made other comments, such as against the registration of .islam

    But opposing comments aren’t a basis for rejection, as long as there is only a handful of them per registration.

  3. Joe says:

    IMO the issue is nonexistent, since governments could block the gTLD(s) in their respective countries. This is very similar to the .XXX case.

  4. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Kevin, it’s clear what you think it should happen, but what do you think will happen ?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I don’t think we’ll see consensus GAC advice against .gay.

      I’d like to think GAC reps from other, civilized, parts of the world would oppose that.

      Non-consensus GAC advice seems more likely, which means ICANN’s board would have a bit more flexibility to reject it.

      Just my gut feeling.

  5. This is going to be a VERY big headache for 47 members of the GAC (and the observer from the Council of Europe).

    Strasbourg case law says they have a “positive obligation” to promote freedom of expression.

    Censoring strings based on expressed support for sexual orientation would appear to conflct with those obligations.

    (I think I might organise a fringe meeting at Toronto .. anyone up for sponsoring the cost of the room?)

  6. John Berryhill says:

    Dr. Al-Zoman, was educated in the country of Canada which tolerated his presence there, unlike the institutions of his country, which would not permit practicing adherents of other faiths to attend. It is likely that he has to say things like this, in order to avoid suspicion about how much time he spends with the rest of us unworthy people.

    Thanks to his technological leadership, his country can now live stream the public beheadings of women for offenses like “expressing an opinion”.

  7. Acro says:

    @John – I believe beheading is an Olympic event in SA, second in popularity only to cutting of the right arm.

  8. John Berryhill says:

    A reminder from the ICANN Expected Standards of Conduct:

    http://www.icann.org/en/news/in-focus/accountability/expected-standards

    Those who take part in ICANN multi-stakeholder process, including Board, staff and all those involved in Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee councils, undertake to:

    [...]

    Treat all members of the ICANN community equally, irrespective of nationality, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age, or sexual orientation

  9. Scott Pinzon says:

    I disagree with Al-Zoman’s premise that making access to a string technically possible is the same as “imposing” a culture on the Internet. Obviously, if he is right that broad swaths of the world find “gay” objectionable, then those people will not choose to register or visit domains under a .gay TLD, right?

    How is giving people a choice “imposing” anything?

    Answer: it isn’t. Telling everyone they are not permitted any choice… THAT is “imposing” a culture on the Internet.

  10. John Berryhill says:

    Well said, Scott. “Tolerance” is a minimum requirement for civilization. It’s a much lower standard than acceptance or approval, and really not that hard. I will tolerate whatever your beliefs may be, so long as they don’t involve me, and that’s a two-way street that keeps civilized societies from the extremes of top-down authoritarianism or people running around bashing each other’s heads with rocks.

    Dr. Alomari’s view is not globally shared. Neither is mine. Nobody is asking him to change his opinions, but we all need to co-exist in this fragile biosphere on a planet orbiting an unexceptional star in an unexceptional galaxy.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      You’re forgetting that the risk of tsunamis increases when societies allow men to have sex with each other.

      A .gay gTLD — at the top level! — could well cause gravity to fail or the laws of thermodynamics to start falling apart.

      I think I saw it on Fox News.

      • John Berryhill says:

        A lot of other things increase the risk of wrathful divine vengeance. Does Dr. Al-Zoman object to .catholic?

  11. Chris LaHatte says:

    If the process of this registers as unfair, then my office is open for an investigaion

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