Queensland is the only region in Australia which does not have a truly equal age of consent for all youth. True equality under the law is vital for the reinforcement of self-esteem, and for the reduction of the risk of bullying, self-harm, depression and suicide.
All youth have a right to equal treatment under the law, and that includes equal benefit of the law, without discrimination. The age of consent must be made equal at 16 for all youth, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Section 208 of the Criminal Code is a “sodomy law” which discriminates particularly against gay and bisexual male youths aged 16 and 17 by criminalising their potential lovemaking, exposing them to the risk of criminal prosecution with a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.
Urgent reform action very early in 2012 is absolutely necessary because the Parliamentary majority held by the socially progressive Queensland Labor Party is certain to be lost to the ultra conservative Liberal/National Party in the impending election.
Strong statements of support for this reform have been made by former High Court Justice Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, psychologist Paul Martin, Qld Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth, GP Dr Wendell Rosevear OAM, Equal Rights Activist Peter Tatchell, PFLAG national spokesperson Shelley Argent OAM and by many others. Those statements are stored as a resource for public access along with comprehensive related information at: www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm
We request your very urgent attention to passing legislation which will truly equalise the age of consent at 16 for the equal benefit and protection of all Queensland youth.
This is achieved by simply removing Section 208 of the Criminal Code - which is the only remaining Sodomy Law in force anywhere in Australia.
The Queensland Sodomy Law actively discriminates against gay male youths aged 16 and 17, by defining them as inferior to their heterosexual peers. This law exposes them to the risk of criminal prosecution with a severe penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment, merely for engaging in sexual activity.
All youth have a right to equal treatment under the law, and that includes equal benefit of the law, without discrimination.
True equality under the law is vital for the reinforcement of self-esteem, and for the reduction of the risk of self-harm and suicide.
The Queensland Labor Party Policy Platform already includes a clear commitment to this reform. Section 7.9 of the Justice and Governance Chapter, states: "Labor will ensure uniformity of age among laws relating to the age of consent for lawful sexual activity."
We ask that you ensure that equal age of consent reform is passed as a matter of priority early in 2012, while your Labor Party still holds a clear majority. The Opposition LNP have firmly declared that they will never support this reform.
The health and well being of Queensland's youth lies in your hands. Please treat them with the same loving care as you have devoted to your own children.