Last edited: June 12, 2004

Hong Kong Gays Fight Sex Laws, July 25, 2002

By Peter Hacker

Hong Kong—Five gay rights activists want Hong Kong’s law against gay sex declared illegal. The five lodged an official complaint Thursday with the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The group is arguing the law, which bans anal intercourse, violates Hong Kong’s civil rights laws by discriminating against gay men.

Hong Kong can imprison a man for life for having anal intercourse with another male who is under 21, but the law does not prevent the same act between a man and a woman under 21.

"There are people who fall victim to this law every year," said Tommy Chen, 28, the leader of the group.

"Such discrimination is so obvious, but the government still refuses to amend the laws," said Chen.

In a statement, the government said the law is intended " to prevent young men from making decisions about engaging in homosexual acts before they are mature enough."

"Despite a lower age of consent for homosexual intercourse in some other countries ... it would be inappropriate for Hong Kong to follow other countries without due regard to the local circumstances," the Home Affairs Bureau said .

Mariana Law, a spokesperson for the Equal Opportunities Commission said officials would consult with their lawyers about the complaint.

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