1 min

Repeal, repeal, repeal

There are Canadian laws still on the books that are used against gays having consensual sex or just watching a fun show. As government has no business regulating the sex life of consenting adults (see feature, opposite), Parliament should:

* Repeal the anal sex laws (Section 159)

Your neighbour complains about sex noises coming from your apartment. The police arrive to find a three-way you’re having with your lover and someone you picked up on the Internet. Anal sex with more than two people is a no-no, a restriction discriminating against gay sexuality. You’re charged.

* Repeal the indecent theatrical performances law (Section 167), the indecent exhibition law (Section 175) and prohibition against exhibiting a disgusting object or exhibiting an indecent show (Section 163).

In 1996, police raided the Toronto strip bar Remington’s for its Sperm Attack Mondays, where the performers jerked off on stage for the pleasure of an audience who had come to the club to see it. Among other charges, club management and performers were charged under Section 167. And laws prohibiting an indecent show and disgusting objects are used to target art and porn-they shouldn’t be.

* Reform the indecent acts law (Section 173)

Last spring, Belleville, Ontario police arrested nine men during a sex sting in a city park, though in most cases no one saw the sexual acts except the police officers who were looking for sexual activity. Sex in the back room of a bar, sex in an otherwise empty public washroom and sex in the steam room of a bathhouse are all criminal offences if anyone, even a willing voyeur, can see. In 1999, police arrested 19 men at Toronto’s Bijou for indecent sexual acts behind the closed doors of a gay porn theatre. The law needs to be reformed so that if people have created reasonable conditions and expectations of privacy, consensual sex is legal.

* Remove the references to indecency from the bawdy house laws (Sections 197 and 210)

In police raids in 1976, 1978, 1981, 1996 and most recently in Calgary in 2002 and in Montreal this May, men have been arrested for having sex in bathhouses and other gay sex spots, and the owners of these places have also been charged. You can be arrested for being found in a bawdy house, even if you are not having sex yourself. Governments have no business regulating consensual sex in any place of business.