A German court said Monday that it has ruled that an Iranian lesbian cannot be deported to her homeland because she risks facing punishment there for her sexual orientation.

The 27-year-old woman, whose name was not released, traveled to Germany in September 2003 and applied for asylum.

The woman argued that she felt excluded from society in the Islamic republic and wanted to "live out her homosexuality openly without having to fear persecution," the Stuttgart administrative court said.

CountryWatch: Germany

The court found that the chance of "disproportionate or discriminatory punishment of a homosexual relationship between women is very high in Iran ... because such a relationship is an absolute breaking of taboos, even worse than between men."

It argued that the plaintiff also risked punishment for her refusal to wear a head scarf.