*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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23rd September 2009 Email to all Queensland Members of Parliament (sent individually). I draw their attention to my article which was published 10th September 2009 by the ABC Unleashed online forum and which drew (as at 30/9/09) 109 comments the vast majority of which were supportive of equal age of consent reform at 16 in Queensland.




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

From: John Frame

To: Every individual Member of Parliament in Queensland

Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 1:42 PM

Subject: ABC online "Unleashed" article 10/9/09 re Qld age of consent reform by John Frame



To:      _________ ___________, MP ___________


From: John Frame, 82 Main Avenue Wavell Hts 4012 Ph: 07 3350 1562

             jvframe@ozemail.com.au www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm



Dear Geoff,


You will be aware of the many efforts I have made since early 2000 to convince the Queensland Government that it should enact a truly equal age of consent at 16. I bring to your attention the following article written by myself which was published last week, 11th September 2009, on the ABC's  "Unleashed" discussion forum:



Unleashed presents diverse and robust opinion about politics, society, belief and behaviour.

10 September 2009, 11:30

The age of consent

John Frame
John Frame

I am confident that most people consider the health and welfare of youth to be of utmost importance. I am equally confident that one of the all-time least desirable topics for public discussion is anal intercourse.

However, for the sake of the health and well being of many youth in Queensland, the public must put aside any personal fears about sexual orientation and sexual activity and consider that the state's Criminal Code ought to protect all young people adequately and with equity and ought not to impose any clearly discriminatory moral judgment.

Queensland is the only state or territory in Australia which has a "sodomy law" - a law which defines a higher age of consent at 18 for homosexual male intercourse than for heterosexual intercourse and other consenting sex (which is 16). The severe penalty for any offender is up to 14 years imprisonment.

Equal age of consent reform is necessary so that same-gender attracted youth can expect to be protected and supported by the law in true equity with their heterosexual peers and siblings. I believe that loving parents would want all of their children to be treated with equity, and to have the best possibility of living long, healthy, loving and productive lives.

The current law validates those who wish to oppress homosexual youth and serves to reinforce institutionalised homophobia, leaving same-gender attracted youth at dramatically increased risk of harassment, abuse, depression and suicide. They may also face increased risk of HIV infection through reduced self-esteem and the impeded delivery of duly inclusive sexual health education.

The Sodomy Law is not about limiting homosexual activity for altruistic societal benefit it is purely about bigotry based on the unreasoned fear of the reality of love between two people of the same gender, and the fact they can share love in every way as deeply, sincerely and passionately as can a man and a woman.

In 2008 La Trobe University conducted a national survey of Year 10 and 12 students which they published in August 2009 in the report Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2008.

Their results show seven per cent of young men reporting a same-sex partner in their most recent sexual activity, and at least 25 per cent of young men reporting that they have ever engaged in intercourse.

So if these national averages hold true, then perhaps up to two per cent of 16 and 17 year old male Queensland youth could be defined as potential criminals, based solely on their consenting sexual activity. All it might take is a change of government for them to face the grim reality of criminal prosecution.

So why does Queensland have an unequal age of consent?

In 1990 the Goss Labor Government met its commitment to Fitzgerald Report recommendations by appointing a Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee to hold public hearings and report on the decriminalisation of male-to-male sex. Peter Beattie was the Committee Chairman and in the October 1990 Report he declared his support for the first eight of the nine majority recommendations.

Recommendation seven was that:

"The age of consent for homosexual acts in accordance with the principles of sexual equality and anti-discrimination be the same for males as it is for females, irrespective of whether the sexual act is heterosexual or homosexual."

The scandal is that this was the only majority recommendation which was not realised in the November 1990 Bill. Hansard shows that not one word was spoken about this Section in the passing of the Bill.

Labor did make just one attempt to set things right. Their 1995 Revised Criminal Code included a truly equal age of consent at 16, but it was repealed in 1996, just before its date of effect, by the incoming Borbidge Nationals. The 1899 Code was reinstated with the term "anal intercourse" changed to "sodomy", the minimum age raised to 18 and the maximum penalty doubled.

Getting rid of the Sodomy Law is a potentially emotive issue, because there's a long and tragic social history of prejudice and bigotry linked directly to the act of anal, rather than vaginal, intercourse.

Why won't the Bligh Government enact equal age of consent reform when Queensland Labor's official Policy Platform in Section 7.9 of the Justice and Governance Chapter states: "7.9 Labor will ensure uniformity of age among laws relating to the age of consent for lawful sexual activity"?

Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth has stated:

"The current provisions of the Criminal Code that impose different ages when people can lawfully participate in sexual intercourse are not consistent with the objects of the Anti-Discrimination Act. These laws discriminate on the basis of sexuality. The Anti-Discrimination Act requires that everyone should be equal before the law and that includes equal benefit of the law, without discrimination. I support the removal of the provisions that discriminate against same sex attracted young people."

Queensland community attitudes have evolved in line with the rest of Australia we're overwhelmingly open-minded and compassionate. Our Government needs to reflect those values and bring us to the forefront of social reform, especially in regard to the welfare of youth.


(end of article)