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20 Sep 2006

latest: hong kong government loses appeal in gay age of consent case

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal has upheld the original decision handed down by a lower court in August 2005, against a law that prescribes life imprisonment for men younger than 21 who have sex with men.

The government of Hong Kong has failed in its attempt to have a landmark ruling - that affects gay men younger than 21 - overturned.

Handing down its judgement on Wednesday morning, the panel of three judges upheld the original decision issued by the lower court last year that a higher age of consent for gays than for heterosexuals and lesbians - for whom consent is granted at 16 - is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Last August, Judge Michael Hartmann ruled that the anti-gay laws "discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation" and "are demeaning of gay men who are, through the legislation, stereotyped as deviant."

The judicial review was sought by 21-year-old William Leung in 2004 who argued he should be able to have a sexual relationship without the fear of imprisonment.

Watch this space, a more comprehensive report will be published tomorrow.

Hong Kong

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