Saudi Arabia objects to .gay internet address

15 Aug 2012

Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission has filed an official objection with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to the creation of internet domain addresses ending in .gay, deeming .gay ‘offensive’ to some societies and cultures.

ICANN, which oversees the rollout of hundreds of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), 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.

The organisation confirmed Saudi Arabia’s official objection to the .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.”

Saudi Arabia has also objected this week to other gTLDs. It has opposed .sex, because it may increase the proliferation of pornographic material on the web, and .virgin, .sucks, .dating and .baby, on the grounds they might also be used by pornographic sites; .tattoo, because tattooing is against religions “such as Islam and Judaism”; .wine and .vodka, as they could glamourise the consumption of alcohol; and .africamagic because it implies black magic, which is “considered offensive”.

ICANN is accepting comments and objections to proposed new gTLDs until 26 September.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic