by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Peruvian Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas says recent news reports that gays have been banned from being police officers were not quite right.
Mid-May reports said cops who have sex with people of the same sex would be banned because they cause scandal and denigrate the police’s image.
But Cabanillas says the new law, which took effect May 12, will only ban gay cops if their gay-related public behavior is scandalous or damages the image of the institution.
She said the ministry has no desire to “get in anyone’s bed” and that officials only wish to target unseemly, embarrassing or scandalous occurrences or attitudes related to sexual orientation that happen in the public sphere.
Gay groups said the law is problematic and discriminatory either way because it seems to suggest that certain public expressions of homosexuality are more likely to run afoul of the law than similar public expressions of heterosexuality.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Movimiento Homosexual de Lima have launched a letter-writing campaign to Peru’s public defender, “asking her to file an Action of Unconstitutionality with the Constitutional Court to challenge the so-called ‘offense’ of same-sex relations and its associated penalty.”
“We write to express our concern over Law 29356, which establishes a new disciplinary code for the Peruvian police, and stipulates in Article 34 that it is a serious offense to ‘have sex with people of the same gender that causes scandal or undermines corporate image,'” a sample letter says in part.
“This law is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – both of which have been signed by Peru. This regressive law also violates the Andean Charter, a regional treaty ratified by Peru in 2002. …Finally, Law 29356 is inconsistent with human rights principles that are already codified in Peruvian law. On December 1, 2004, a new Constitutional Procedures Code, approved by Parliament, modified constitutional procedures to recognize discrimination based on sexual orientation.”