Age of Consent - Lessons from Hong Kong
I never thought that I'd find myself saying that Canada should be looking to Hong Kong for direction on how to reform its antiquated age of consent laws, but the world is a surprising place.
Like the Ontario courts, a court of appeal in Hong Kong recently upheld a lower court decision that the territory's law banning anal sex (or sodomy) between individuals under the age of 21 is discriminatory, given that the age of consent for heterosexual sex is 16.
In Canada, we still have similarly discriminatory laws on the books, specifically Section 159 of the Criminal Code, which establishes the age of consent for anal sex at 18, when it is 14 for other sexual acts. One can debate the merits of the Conservative plan to raise the age of consent to 16, but there is no justification for continuing to legally discriminate against gay sex in the criminal code. Justice Minister Vic Toews had an opportunity to follow the lead of lower court decisions on this issue and equalize the age of consent for all Canadians, but thus far, he is choosing not to. If the somewhat-less-than-fully-democratic Hong Kong legal system can recognize the principle of equal treatment under the law, surely Canada can as well. Recommend this Post