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HK Christians Outraged as Court Compromises Homosexual Age-of-Consent Restriction

Christians in Hong Kong are alarmed as the High Court once again turned down the age restriction for homosexual activity of boys and young men Wednesday, after the government appealed the August 2005
( [email protected] ) Sep 21, 2006 08:21 PM EDT

Christians in Hong Kong are alarmed as the High Court once again turned down the age restriction for homosexual activity of boys and young men Wednesday, after the government appealed the August 2005 ruling.

The three judges at the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that a higher age of consent for homosexuals than for heterosexuals and lesbians was discriminatory and unconstitutional, the Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

The case was originally brought by 21-year-old homosexual William Roy Leung, who tried to strike down the existing law. Currently, men engaging in sexual activity, when one or both males were under the age of 21, could face life-imprisonment. The age of consent for heterosexual or lesbian sexual activity in Hong Kong, however, is 16, therefore some human rights and gay activists have criticized that the law is unfair.

"No evidence has been placed before us to explain why the minimum age requirement for buggery is 21 whereas as far as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is concerned, the age of consent is only 16," Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Ma wrote in his judgment, according to AFP.

It was reported that many human rights activists and male homosexuals hailed the Wednesday’s ruling. Despite the concern of human rights activists, the justification of sexual activities between same-sex people is more of the focused argument for Hong Kong Christians.

The Society for Truth and Light, a conservative Christian pressure group, commented the verdict was "regrettable" and set a "dangerous precedent", AFP reported.

"The focus of this case was wrong. It should not be on whether this is discriminatory, the focus should be on whether there were moral and hygienic problems in buggery and whether it should be encouraged," said Choi Chi-sum, the group's general secretary.

"Sodomy should not be classified as sexual intercourse as it involved high health risks," he added. "This shouldn't be for the court judges to decide, they are not doctors."

Choi called on the government to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal and asked for public consultation on the issue.

The organization is committed to combating pornography, prostitution, and gambling through public awareness campaigns, fought to maintain the age of consent law as it stood on the grounds that a change would trigger an increase in AIDS infections among young men, according to Asia Media. The group petitioned the government to appeal the August High Court ruling, submitting a petition containing 27,500 signatures.

Now no report has said about further appeal for the ruling. However, it is expected that in the next step, human rights and gay activists may try to introduce legislation to remove the provision on the age of consent for homosexual sex from the statute book.