Leaders of Commonwealth countries will be asked to decriminalise homosexuality to help to stop the spread of HIV, an Australian official has said.
Forty-one of the 53 Commonwealth countries – including Uganda, Zimbabwe and Ghana – still criminalise gay sex and HIV campaigners say such laws are seriously hampering safe sex initiatives.
The 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Perth, Australia from 28-30 October.
CHOGM 2011 will bring together more than 50 world leaders representing approximately one-quarter of the world’s countries and one-third of the world’s population. The meetings originated with the of the leaders of the self-governing colonies of the British Empire in 1887- and still has great influence in setting human rights policy throughout the world.
Sodomy laws in the US were invalidated by The U.S. Supreme Court in the ruling of Lawrence vs. Texas in 2003. However, several states- including Montana- still keep these shameful and impotent laws on the books- despite reasonable efforts to remove them– presumably as a slap in the face to the “Uppity Gays”. And yes, I will mention (Again!) that the Official Montana Republican Platform still calls for the criminalization of homosexual acts.
Will this meeting in Australia have an effect in Montana?
Probably not- at least not directly. I suspect this will not be seen as a discussion of human rights, but as a discussion of disease and epidemics- at least at first. And if the last legislative session is any indication, the zenophobes in charge of Montana’s legislative agenda will see it as unimportant (and non-applicable) world politics that don’t apply here.
But any progress is good progress- and this is progress- this discussion has never happened at this world level before- and it eventually filters through. Even to Montana.
I just hope I live to see it.