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Hong Kong ruling
against sodomy laws gets mixed response

Hong Kong ruling
against sodomy laws gets mixed response

A Christian activist on Thursday criticized a Hong Kong judge's ruling against sodomy laws, but the decision received mixed responses in newspaper editorials--with some applauding the increasing tolerance in Hong Kong society. The front pages of several papers featured Wednesday's high court judgment against gay sex laws--including one that calls for a life sentence for sodomy when one or both men are younger than 21. The judge said the laws were discriminatory and unconstitutional. Choi Chi-sum, a leading Christian activist, said he feared that gay groups would use the decision to abuse their claims to equality. "This ruling wouldn't help gay groups with their cause because it sends a clear warning signal to the public of a domino effect," Choi said. "This isn't just about sodomy. We're talking about the collapse of sexual differences, and soon they'd be demanding marriage and adoption of children." The sodomy laws deemed discriminatory prohibited "gross indecency" or sexual intimacy between men if one or both are under 21. But heterosexual and lesbian couples who are 16 or older can legally have such relations. The Ming Pao Daily offered the most scathing condemnation of Wednesday's ruling, saying the court should not decide for the public when it has no backing of public opinion. The Chinese-language editorial read: "The court appears not to have thoroughly considered the public's moral judgments, even as it stressed the protection of minority groups' rights." It added, "Should this line of logic be developed, we would quickly proceed to the stage when the court makes same-sex marriage legal." The editorial urged the government to appeal the decision to the court of final appeal, but officials have yet to say what they plan to do. SingTao Daily warned that protection offered to victims of inequality could potentially become a weapon wielded by a "minority dictatorship." The mass-market paper nevertheless applauded the increasing tolerance of Hong Kong society, noting that gay bashing has no place in the city. "More homosexuals are 'coming out of the closet'--the most well-known of whom is celebrity Leslie Cheung, who had not lost his star power even after his love life was revealed," the paper said. Cheung was one of Hong Kong's most popular actors and pop singers before committing suicide in 2003. Apple Daily took a more liberal stance, saying the ruling removed discriminatory laws to protect important rights of individuals. The ruling was "worth supporting and affirming," the mass-market paper said. People with "different sexual orientations aren't perverted or wrong. They are not committing any crimes," the paper said. (AP)

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