*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of
23rd June 2000,Letter to the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission to see if they can have an effect on the Sodomy Law. In this letter I point out the discrimination against men aged between 16 and 18 which is contained in the Attorney-Generalís advice about the application of the Sodomy Law. Just recently the Texas sodomy law was struck down for similar reasons.
Anti-Discrimination Commissioner of Queensland
From: John Frame
82 Main Avenue
Wavell Heights 4012
Phone 3350 1562 /Mobile 0409 501 561
Date: 23rd June 2000
Re: Legal Opinion requested re the discriminatory nature of the Sodomy Law (1990).
Recently I have lobbied the Queensland Attorney General, Hon. Matt Foley to authorise a public education campaign regarding the true interpretation of the age of consent for sex in Queensland and the effect of the Sodomy Law on lawful sexual activity for those between 16 and 18 years of age. I received a reply dated 5th May 2000 (reference 2000/2159, a copy is attached).
The Sodomy Law-defined age of 18 is what contributes to the misconception, with the majority of the public, that all sex between men is illegal until 18.
Most gay men that I know, consider that the law discriminates against men, and that its purpose is to deter men from having any sex with other men, until they are 18.
It has been suggested that the Sodomy Law was enacted in 1990, when homosexual male sexual activity was decriminalised, as a move to placate conservatives on both sides of the Legislative Assembly.
Because of the seriousness of the topic, and the potential for incrimination, there is no other person I know who has felt empowered to seek an official statement as to the correct interpretation of the law.
It has been suggested to me that the Government's justification when enacting the Sodomy Law was that it was "fair" because they saw it as applying equally to men and women.
However in a letter from the Attorney-General, written on his behalf by his Senior Ministerial Policy Adviser, Peter Clarke (copy attached, reference 2000/2159, dated 5th May 2000) the statement is made that:
"The offence of unlawful sodomy applies to any person who sodomises a person under 18 years, or permits a male person under 18 years to sodomise him or her."
This statement blatantly discriminates against men, as it allows a woman aged between 16 and 18 to anally penetrate her partner, but does not allow the same choice to a male of the same age. If the law were not discriminatory, the second part would not include the word "male" and the statement would instead be:
"The offence of unlawful sodomy applies to any person who sodomises a person under 18 years, or permits a person under 18 years to sodomise him or her."
The Attorney General's letter further states that:
"You are correct in noting that for other forms of sexual activity, the age of consent for both males and females is 16 years."
This second statement makes it clear that the Sodomy Law is referring to anal intercourse and not to forms of sex which couples of "men and women", or "women and women" can otherwise choose to engage in.
The act of anal penetration using a tongue, a finger or a dildo can be performed equally by males and females, and yet the Sodomy Law, by the Attorney-General's statement, specifies that only males aged between 16 and 18 may not choose to anally penetrate their partner.
I believe that this is discrimination on the basis of gender, and request your legal opinion as to the verity of my belief. I also request that you advise whether there is any action that you can take in order to achieve an equitable situation.
I believe that men must be given the same rights to choice in sexual activity as women and to that end that the Sodomy Law should be struck down, leaving the age of consent for all sexual activities at 16 for both males and females.
I have included copies of my correspondence with the Attorney General to help you see that this is an important issue for several reasons, including health education. I have also included a news item regarding the recent situation in the state of Texas where their Sodomy Law was struck down for reasons of discrimination against one gender over another - which I believe is the case in Queensland.
I look forward to receiving your reply,