Legislation to shape sexual morality

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 September 1998, 22:10 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government sought the views of the public today to formulate legislation to safeguard the country's morals.

A political analyst in Colombo said that the move comes in the wake of the bad publicity the country has received in the west as a paedophiles' haven and a paradise for male child prostitutes.

However, another informed observer said that the PA is seeking the views of the public to provide a forum for the Sinhala Buddhist lobby to harmlessly vent part of its anger that has been directed at the government in recent times.

The opposition and sections of the local press are currently on a campaign about the sexual proclivities of a senior cabinet minister and confidante of the President.

They argue that homosexuality is immoral and a punishable offence in Sri Lankan law.

A gay organization earlier lent ammunition to critics of the PA by demanding that Sri Lankan laws relating to homosexuals should be amended to accommodate gay rights.

The opposition pounced on this opportunity to start a whisper campaign that gays were emboldened that one among them walked the corridors of power.

The local film industry has contributed its share to the polemics of homosexuality by announcing last weekend the release of a steamy Sinhala movie about two lesbians lovers. The movie is called Sura Yahana.

Matters came to a head when controversial UNP politician Dr.Rajitha Senaratna recently alleged immoral sexual practices in the higher rungs of the PA regime.

Sinhala Buddhist nationalists have traditionally exhorted that the country should eschew the cultural evils imported from the west.

The landmark Buddhist commission report of 1956 says, "The Christian materialistic western civilization has made drunkards, thieves, lechers, liars and murderers out of our people. It was under Buddhism that Ceylon reached a high level of decent and cultured living".

An analyst said that it remains to be seen whether the legislation would be enough to placate the Sinhala Buddhist lobby and take the wind out of the opposition sails.

The government's announcement says - "In order to establish a firm policy with regard to the production of cinematic films, video films and all media publications which tend to inflame emotion and have a damaging influence on the life of the people by portraying violence, the use of alcoholic beverages, immoral behaviour, sexuality etc., Her Excellency the President has appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Hon. G.L Pieris to prepare legislation with regard to above".

The public have been asked to submit their suggestions on or before September 25.


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