14 Oct 2005

Fiji Methodists plan mass anti-gay marches

2:36 pm on 14 October 2005

Fiji's large Methodist Church is planning mass, nationwide anti-gay marches.

The Daily Post quotes a senior church spokesman, the Reverend Iliesa Naivalu, as saying they are in the process of getting permits from divisional commissioners so the marches are legal.

He says the decision on the mass marches follows the recent High Court ruling which said it was discriminatory to jail people for having gay sex in private.

Justice Gerard Winter had ruled that sections of Fiji's Penal Code, criminalising gay sex in private, were not consistent with the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and therefore not valid.

But the Reverend Naivalu says they want judges and organisations supporting such practices to know that they do not like 'such things taking place in Fiji'.

The Post says a march by the Rewa division of the church about six months ago generated considerable criticisms from various sections of the community.

Following the High Court ruling, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, said gay and lesbian sex must remain a crime, and any man-made legislation that is inconsistent with God's law must be amended.

But the former Opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, said the private sex acts of individuals were not the prime minister's business.