Campaign for Age Of Consent awareness & removal of The Sodomy Law in Queensland

*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of Queensland, Australia - A campaign to remove our Sodomy Law (which was enacted in 1990).

what the law means...an easy to read pamphlet...a brief story of the campaign so far...the need for community action...homosexual law reform history in Qld...Government legislation referencesCorrespondence Summary List...   RETURN to opening page

2nd June 2005 Email to all members of Queensland Parliament, extending from my email of 25th August 2004 I highlight the recent announcement by Queensland Health that HIV infections in our state increased by 19.2% in 2004 and that on 25th May 2005 La Trobe University published research on 1,749 same sex attracted youth Australia-wide which shows that 15-18 year old youth are choosing to do anal intercourse at an early age and that 25% of them are not using condoms. In Queensland this situation is made even more serious because of the state’s Sodomy Law which actively impedes safe sex education regarding anal intercourse. In the light of the proven increased risk of HIV for Queensland Youth I call for urgent reform of the Sodomy Law. It is not acceptable that the Beattie Government holds the arbitrary stance of refusing to enact reform during the current term (which runs until 2007).


----- Original Message -----

From: John Frame

To: an individual email was sent to each Member of Parliament in Queensland (using their electorate email addresses from the Parliamentary website)

Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 and Friday, June 03, 2005

Subject: Increased risk of HIV to Queensland youth

 

From: John Frame

            82 Main Avenue, Wavell Hts 4012

            Ph 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561 jvframe@bigpond.net.au

 

Re: Qld Health reported their concern last month that HIV infections in Queensland had increased by 19.2% in 2004. Also in May a published national survey found that young same sex attracted people aged 15-18 years are having penetrative sex earlier than the average of their peers and that they are 5 times more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections. 

 

Queensland’s 1990 “Sodomy Law” (Sections 208 and 209 of the Criminal Code) severely impedes safe sex education and dramatically increases the risk of exposure of our state’s youth to HIV infection.

 

Dear Bruce,

 

In August 2004 I contacted all Queensland members of Parliament to make sure they were aware of the risk to which youth are exposed as a direct result of our state’s archaic “Sodomy Law” (Sections 208 and 209 of the Criminal Code).  Under current State legislation ‘sodomy’ or anal intercourse is illegal until age 18, while all other consenting sexual activity is legal from age 16.  The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

 

Unprotected anal intercourse (i.e. without using a condom) presents the highest risk for HIV infection and yet youth aged 16 and 17 are denied safe sex information regarding that activity (specifically because of it’s illegal status for them).

 

Many Members of Parliament responded supportively to my email, including members of all Parties and some Independents. I am certain that a majority of MP’s favour reform of this law, however I believe that reform must be enacted as soon as possible especially due to the increasing incidence of HIV infection in our state.

 

On 5th May 2005 Queensland Health issued a media release stating concern that 2004 had seen a 19.2% increase in state-wide HIV infections (www.queerradio.org/May_2005_Qld_Health_HIV_rise_media_release.doc ).

 

On that same day a combined media release by Queensland’s HIV/AIDS service agencies ( www.queerradio.org/May_2005_Joint_HIV_ Rise_Release.pdf )  stated that this represents a 40% increase since 2001. Queensland AIDS Council Manager Paul Martin is quoted in that release as warning that “this rise underscores the importance of the safe sex message and that none of us can be complacent”.

 

On 3rd February 2005 QuAC Manager Paul Martin issued a media release specifically calling for reform of the “Sodomy Law”: (www.queerradio.org/QuAC_Paul_Martin_3rd_Feb_'05_call_to_equalise_sex_laws.doc ) and I quote from that release:

 

The current law causes confusion amongst many in the community who believe that all sex between men is illegal before the age of 18” said Paul R Martin of the Queensland AIDS Council.  We are concerned that young people who are sexually active are reluctant to come forward to access sexual health services and receive sex & relationships education for fear of being prosecuted”.

 

Mr Martin went on to say “There is no legitimate reason why the age at which young men and women can have vaginal sex, which may result in child birth, should be any different from the age at which people can legally have anal sex. The current law does nothing to protect young people, on the contrary it criminalises young people who choose to have anal sex”.

 

On 25th May 2005 Melbourne’s La Trobe University (Dr Lynne Hillier et al) published an important report on a national survey of 1,749 “same sex attracted youth” (go to http://www.latrobe.edu.au/ssay/ ). The researchers found that the clear majority of same sex attracted youth are aware of their sexual attraction by age 16 (if not by 13), that they are sexually active at an earlier age than their heterosexual peers, that 70% had engaged in penetrative sexual intercourse and that only 75% of 15-18 year olds had used condoms in their last encounter. They also found that same sex attracted youth were 5 times as likely to suffer a sexually transmitted infection as would the average high school student.

 

The La Trobe report when combined with Queensland Health’s own finding on the increasing rate of HIV infection is substantial proof that the “Sodomy Law” must be removed urgently so all youths, regardless of their gender or sexuality, may hope to receive adequate education, support and protection from school counselors, health service providers, police and legal services .

 

A truly equal age of consent for all sexual activities is also vital for acceptance by family and peers.

 

Since 31st January 2005 there has been a Queensland Parliament E-Petition which I have proposed in favour of reforming the “Sodomy Law”.  The petition has gained 470 signatories up to today’s date and will remain open until 31st July 2005. I invite you to inspect and to encourage support for that petition:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/EPetitions_QLD/cgi-bin/Petitions.cgi?PetNum=421&PetType=1

 

On Saturday the 25th June 2005 I will host the annual Brisbane Lesbian & Gay Pride Rally in King George Square. I will speak out about the tragic consequences of the continuing delays in Queensland Parliament’s reform of the 1990 “Sodomy Law”.   As a sign of respect and concern for our state’s youth I urge you to be loudly proactive in achieving a commitment to the rapid enactment of this reform.

 

I warmly welcome your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

John Frame

 

Presenter of the gay and lesbian community radio program “Queer Radio” www.queerradio.org

on 4ZZZ fm102.1 in Brisbane.

 

For full details of the history of the Queensland Sodomy Law, its impact and of my efforts toward gaining this reform since March 2000, please go to: www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm

 

82 Main Avenue,

Wavell Heights 4012

 

Ph: 07 335 01562 / 0409 501 561  jvframe@bigpond.net.au