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

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19th  January 2006 Email to all Queensland Members of Parliament – on the fifteenth anniversary of the commencement of the Sodomy Law I wrote to all MP’s calling for support of urgent reform and drawing their attention to the written opinions of support from Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth (15 July ’05), from Brisbane Parents & Friends of Lesbians And Gays (14 July ’05), from over twenty respected Community Groups (MidOctober ’05) and from 740 signatories to the Parliamentary E-Petition (tabled 9 August ’05).

 


 

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

From: John Frame

To: all state MP’s were sent an individual email 

Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:49 PM

Subject: QLD Anti-Discrimination Commissioner supports Equal Age of Consent Law Reform

 

To (Member of Parliament's name)(Electorate)

 

19th January 2005 (NB: this was a typing error - the correct year is 2006)

 

From: John Frame

                   82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights

                        Ph: (07) 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561

                        jvframe@ozemail.com.au

Since 1994 John Frame has been presenter of the gay and lesbian supportive community radio program “Queer Radio” www.queerradio.org  on 4ZZZ fm102.1 in Brisbane. He has been actively seeking this reform of the Criminal Code since February 2000. Full details, including legal references, law reform history and all correspondence are stored at www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm  

 

 

Dear (MP's preferred first name)

 

January 19th 2006 marks the 15th anniversary of commencement of the Queensland “Sodomy Law”. That’s fifteen years of actively discriminating against our State’s 16 and 17 year old youth and placing their health and their lives at risk.

 

Reform of the Sodomy Law under the Criminal Code is long overdue and there is ample official and popular support for this action.

 

I urge you to contact the Premier and the Attorney-General to encourage immediate law reform – as has been recommended to both of them by the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth in her letter dated 15th July 2005.

 

In this email I include a brief outline of why Sodomy Law Reform is needed now, followed by concise information on the topics:

·        What is the Queensland Sodomy Law?

·        3 Reasons why the Queensland Sodomy Law should be removed urgently.

·         Verifiable official and popular support for Sodomy Law Reform.

 

A brief outline of why Sodomy Law Reform is needed now.

 

Within every other Australian state or territory the age of consent is equal for all citizens. However in Queensland the Beattie Government continues to refuse to equalise the age of consent despite the written advice to do so by Qld Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth: http://www.queerradio.org/AOC150705_ADCQ.htm  , as well as written support for reform by reputable health and community groups (including the Qld AIDS Council) and a Parliamentary E-Petition which closed on 31st July 2005 with 740 signatories.

 

Sections 208 & 209 of the Qld Criminal Code set a minimum age of 18 for anal intercourse, with a 14 year jail term for any offenders. This "Sodomy Law" stops vital safe sex information on a potentially high risk sexual activity from reaching 16 and 17 year olds - which is dangerous considering that our state's HIV infection rate has jumped by 40% in recent years.

 

Recent La Trobe University research has shown that anal intercourse is practiced by a significant percentage of all youth - it is not an exclusively homosexual activity, but even if it were, parents would want all of their youth protected and supported by the law, and not just their heterosexual children - as per a letter from Brisbane Parents of Lesbians and Gays: http://www.queerradio.org/AOC140705.htm

 

Premier Beattie and Attorney-General Linda Lavarch refuse to publicly commit to ever reforming this law, and they also refuse to discuss why they allow a law to remain in force which they know places youth at high risk of HIV infection, of self-harm and of suicide.

 

I've been corresponding with the Premier and Attorney-General over this matter since March 2000 and sadly I am seeing no sign of a positive response from either of them. Full details of my efforts are on my website at: www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm 

 

I can only assume that Mr. Beattie fears that equalising the age of consent will cost them some votes, however how can he value those votes more than the health and well-being of our state's youth?

 

The Attorney-General advises that this is a “vexed” topic, but surely so were the rights of women and indigenous people to vote. 

 

The Beattie Government should not be allowed to continue placing young lives at risk in order to avoid public discussion of a delicate subject.

 

Mr. Beattie recommended specifically against a Sodomy Law in his 1990 PCJC Report on Homosexual Law Reform - he should have the courage and moral conviction to repeal it now.

 

January 19th 2006 marks the 15th anniversary of the commencement of the Queensland Sodomy Law - it's an appropriate occasion for Premier Beattie to be pressured to enact reform.

 

 

What is the Queensland Sodomy Law?

 

  • Queensland’s Criminal Code sets a minimum age of 16 for consent to sexual activity. However the Sodomy Law (Sections 208 & 209) sets a higher age of 18 for any person to consent to “anal intercourse” and defines a maximum penalty of 14 years gaol for offenders.

 

 

3 Reasons why the Queensland Sodomy Law should be removed urgently:

 

  1. For 16 and 17 year olds, the Sodomy Law actively impedes access to relevant safe sex education in regard to anal intercourse – which is potentially the highest risk activity for the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Proper use of condoms and lubricant is the effective prophylaxis, and youth need to know that this should be practiced when engaging in either anal or vaginal intercourse. Queensland is the only Australian state with an escalating HIV infection rate, so youth of all sexualities are being placed at increasing risk of infection.

 

  1. Because anal intercourse is often perceived as “homosexual sex”, the Sodomy Law particularly taints all gay and bisexual 16 and 17 year old males as being potential criminals – and therefore denies them the acceptance and support that they need from their peers, family members and counselors. The discrimination they suffer dramatically increases the risk of self-harm through substance abuse and suicide.

 

  1. Within every other Australian State or Territory the age of consent for sexual activity is truly equal. All Queensland youth deserve equal protection and support under the law – regardless of their gender or sexuality.

 

 

Verifiable official and popular support for Sodomy Law Reform:

 

1.       14th July 2005 Letter from Brisbane Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays to Premier Peter Beattie calling for urgent reform of the Sodomy Law. This letter expresses the great concern of parents for the health and well-being of their same sex attracted children, just as for their heterosexual children – and highlighting the critical risks to same sex attracted youth which are perpetuated by the Sodomy Law. “PFLAG parents want the government to provide the same rights for our gay youth as our heterosexual youth.”

 

2.       15th July 2005 Letter from Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth to Attorney-General Rod Welford and to Premier Peter Beattie declaring that Queensland’s Sodomy Law “discriminates on the basis of sexuality. These provisions of the Criminal Code are inconsistent with the object of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to promote equality for everyone and protect them from unfair discrimination, and the premise upon which the legislation was enacted, namely, that everyone should be equal before and under the law and have the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.” The Commissioner concludes by stating that It is now imperative that Queensland remove the age difference for lawful heterosexual and homosexual sex between consenting sexual partners. These legislative changes will ensure that Queensland law is consistent with the International Covenant and local discrimination law, it will reflect contemporary realities of society, and assist in addressing the increase in HIV infections.”

 

3.       31st July 2005 A Queensland Government Parliamentary E-Petition for Criminal Code Law Reform went online on 1st February 2005. The E-petition closed on 31st July 2005 with a substantial total of 740 signatories. It was tabled in Parliament on 9th August and referred to the Attorney-General on the 10th August 2005. The Minister has not yet responded to that E-petition.

 

4.       Mid October 2005 Community Services Group letter to the Beattie Government calling for urgent reform of the Queensland Sodomy Law. Over twenty highly respected health and welfare community groups and organizations co-signed this letter which had been initiated by the (1) Open Doors Youth Service, (2) Brisbane Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays, and (3) peak HIV health body the Queensland AIDS Council. Troy Hakala of the Qld AIDS Council advises that the letter was posted to the five respective Ministers in mid-October.

 

 

I welcome your response or enquiry and I would be happy to direct you to representative contacts.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

John Frame
presenter of Queer Radio www.queerradio.org
on community radio 4ZZZ fm102.1 Brisbane, Australia
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / 0409 501 561
Post: 82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.

 

----"There is no substitute for equality"----