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Fiji's new decree says gay sex is now legal

Posted in: International News
By Daily News Staff - 4th March 2010

A new government decree has confirmed that sex between consenting people of the same gender is now legal in Fiji.

Pacific UNAIDS co-ordinator Stuart Watson welcomed the move. "We'd just like to complement Fiji on taking a really very bold step," he told Radio NZ. "The crimes decree removing sodomy and decriminalising homosexuality makes Fiji a first in the Pacific."

The Women's Action for Change group in Fiji agrees that the decree is a step in the right direction but worries that gay men will now be targets. "If there's a lot of pressure by the church, and condemning, it will mean that gay people will still have to be very very careful [and] will in fact emotionally suffer more abuse if it's too publicly discussed," the group's spokesperson Peni Moore said.

"In the past when anything to do with gay rights has been brought up members of the community have faced continuous verbal and physical abuse."

Church leaders have had mixed views on the new ruling, with one minister welcoming the advance in human rights, while Tomasi Kanailagi, a former President of the Methodist Church, told media that the Bible says homosexuality is "ungodly".

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