top.gif - 25.77 K

South Africa Legalizes Gay-Male Sex

Anti-Gay Puerto Rican Measure Struck Down

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

South Africa Legalizes Gay-Male Sex

safricaflag.gif - 5.11 KSouth Africa's highest court, the Constitutional Court, legalized gay-male sex nationwide October 9. Lesbian sex had not been banned.

Previous similar rulings by other courts had applied only to Gauteng and Western Cape provinces. South Africa has nine provinces.

The decision rescinded the common-law offense of sodomy and a section of the Sexual Offences Act that prohibited sex between males. The justices also said men charged or convicted under those statutes since 1994 can have their criminal records purged and sue for damages.

South Africa banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1994 via a new provisional constitution which has since become permanent.

The lawsuit that led to the ruling was filed by the National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality.

Anti-Gay Puerto Rican
Measure Struck Down

puertoricoflag.gif - 1.36 KThe U.S. Federal District Court for Puerto Rico struck down a disciplinary rule September 30 that forbade Puerto Rican police officers from associating with homosexuals.

Police Regulation 29 stated, "It is a grave offense for police officers to associate with prostitutes, homosexuals, or other persons of dubious reputation." v Judge Hector Laffitte said the ban served no state interest and violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The case was brought by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund after the Puerto Rican Police Department harassed attendees at a gay cops' convention held in San Juan in 1995.

© 1997-98 BEI