Sri Lanka Retains Ban on Gay People, but Says It Won’t Prosecute

The National Human Rights Action Plan has attempted to remove discrimination based on sexual orientation in Sri Lanka, but the government remains reluctant to remove the discriminatory laws in fear it will promote homosexuality. National Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated: “The government is against homosexuality. But we will not prosecute anyone for practicing it.”

It is stated under Sri Lankan law “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with the imprisonment.” The law at times can be a bit foggy; it also prohibits gross indecency and is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Since the law is unclear as to what constitutes “gross indecency” Activists worry the unspecificity will be used to target same-sex couples. Although it may seem the decision on LGBT rights has been finalized on this South Asian island, gay rights activists are still pushing for equality. Progress may be at a current stand still in Sri Lanka, but it is only a temporary halt. Same-sex sexual activity was illegal in 14 of the 50 states before the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas case in the U.S.

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