Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals Move to Repeal Anal Sex Provision, Appoint Adviser on LGBTQ2 Issues

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals Move to Repeal Anal Sex Provision, Appoint Adviser on LGBTQ2 Issues

Article excerpt

Liberals move to turn page on discrimination

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OTTAWA - The Liberal government is moving to repeal a law that courts and critics have long said unfairly criminalizes the sexual activities of gay and bisexual men -- part of broader efforts to turn the page on state-sanctioned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Canadians expect their government and their laws to reflect their values," Justice Wilson-Raybould said Tuesday after tabling legislation to repeal a provision of the Criminal Code that places restrictions on anal intercourse.

Currently the sexual act is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. There is an exception for heterosexual married couples and consenting adults of either sex over age 18, as long as anal intercourse does not involve more than two people and is done in a private place without anyone watching.

Courts have found the provision to infringe on equality guarantees under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since 16- and 17-year-olds can consent to all other forms of sexual activity.

The proposed legislation known as Bill C-32 would repeal section 159 of the Criminal Code and prevent charges being laid against those 16 and older who engage in consensual anal intercourse, with the government noting that all non-consensual sexual activity would be covered under different, existing provisions.

"Our society has evolved over the past few decades and our criminal justice system needs to evolve as well," said Wilson-Raybould.

Egale Canada Human Rights Trust issued a report in June noting that while appeal court judges in five provinces -- as well as federal courts -- have ruled that section 159 is unconstitutional, police officers have continued to charge people under it.

In 2014-15 -- the most recent year for which data is available -- there were 69 charges under section 159 brought before adult courts, said Valerie Gervais, a spokeswoman for Wilson-Raybould.

None resulted in convictions, but Gervais said there were 98 charges in 2013-14 resulting in seven convictions. …

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