The court in the capital Cairo found all eight suspects guilty of the crime of "inciting debauchery" for their appearance in a video that allegedly shows a same-sex wedding party on a boat on the River Nile.
On the video, which went viral on the Internet, two men are seen exchanging rings an embracing in the presence of cheering onlookers.
While homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, there has been a series of highly publicized raids of suspected gays in the country in recent months. The crackdown has been criticized by rights groups, including New York-based #link:http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2014/country-chapters/egypt:Human Rights Watch,# which in September accused the Egyptian authorities of repeatedly arresting and torturing men suspected of engaging in consensual gay sex.#
The legal team defending the eight men convicted on Saturday denied that the were gay.
"My clients are innocent of practicing homosexuality," one on the lawyers, Emad Sobhi, told the AFP news agency. "The court succumbed to public opinion," he added.
AFP also cited a spokesman for the justice ministry's forensics department as saying prior to Saturday's verdict that medical examinations had produced no evidence that the men had engaged in homosexual activity.
"The medical test showed that the eight defendants have not practiced homosexuality recently or in the past," Hesham Abdel Hamed said.
In addition to the three-year sentences, the presiding judge said all eight would be subject to police supervision following their release.
As the sentences were handed down, members of the eight men' families protested outside of the courtroom. One of the defendants, who stood silently in a court-room cage, held up a copy of the Koran.
It wasn't immediately clear whether any or all of the defendants would appeal their convictions.
pfd/sb (Reuters, AP, AFP)