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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 30) -- Attorney-General Qoriniasi Bale disagrees with the High Court's interpretation of the Constitution's sexual orientation clause which it defined when it ruled in the Thomas McCosker case last week.

The clause, which is placed under the Bill of Rights, did not legalise homosexuality, he said.

Instead, it was included to ensure protection against discrimination.

He was referring to the High Court's decision to quash the conviction and sentence of Australian, Thomas McCosker, and local, Dhirendra Nand, last week. In its judgment, the High Court found several clauses of the Criminal Penal Code (CPC) discriminatory against the homosexual community.

But Mr Bale, in Parliament yesterday, said the sexual orientation clause "protects those people (homosexuals) from discrimination and it does not condone sodomy is the country". Section 38 (2)(a) of the Constitution states: "A person must not be unfairly discriminated against, directly or indirectly, on the ground of his or her: actual or supposed personal characteristics of circumstances, including sexual orientation."

He said the CPC would be amended to reflect the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Women's Action for Change (WAC) has condemned the Methodist Church on its comments against homosexuals.

In a statement yesterday, WAC said it was "horrified by the attack on human rights inherent in such statements" and it called on the Government and the people of Fiji to remain true to the democratic principles that separate church and State.

"At the heart of democracy is equality before the law," said WAC co-ordinator Noelene Nabulivou.

"If we attack any minorities on religious principles, we are getting dangerously close to fundamentalist statehood and this has implications for all of us in Fiji who believe in democracy, humans rights and rule of law."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

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