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Gay men must be free to enjoy Kylie concerts and cocktails: Judge's extraordinary ruling in homosexu


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Gay men must be free to enjoy Kylie concerts and cocktails: Judge's extraordinary ruling in homosexual asylum case



By Mail Online Reporter

Last updated at 5:23 PM on 7th July 2010



Gay men should be free to attend Kylie concerts, drink exotically coloured cocktails and talk about boys with their women friends, a Supreme Court justice said today.

Lord Rodger's summary of male homosexual life in Britain came in a judgment that overturned a decision to deport two gay asylum seekers.

Both men - one from Cameroon, the other from Iran - had been refused permission to stay in the UK on the grounds that they could avoid ill-treatment by keeping their sexuality secret or behaving discreetly when returned.

But in a lengthy written opinion, Lord Rodger said that the normal behaviour of gay people must be guarded as it was for straight people.


He added: 'What is protected is the applicant's right to live freely and openly as a gay man.


article-1292715-05E8344B000005DC-433_468x588.jpg Supreme Court ruling: Two gay asylum seekers from Iran and Cameroon have won the right to asylum in Britain


'To illustrate the point with trivial stereotypical examples from British society: just as male heterosexuals are free to enjoy themselves playing rugby, drinking beer and talking about girls with their mates, so male homosexuals are to be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts, drinking exotically coloured cocktails and talking about boys with their straight female mates.'

Lord Roger goes on to insist that 'sexual identity is inherent to one's very identity as a person', citing the genius of the poet A.E. Houseman and the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing.






The Supreme Court Justice adds: 'Not only may these talents have been at least as significant to their identity as their homosexuality, but the individuals themselves may well have thought so too.'



One of the men involved in the case - known as 'T' - appealed against a decision that he could return to his native Cameroon, despite the fact that he was attacked by a knife-wielding mob after he was seen kissing a male partner.

The other, known as 'J', from Iran, was told he could be expected to tolerate conditions arising from his homosexual relationship in his home country, and should behave discreetly to avoid reprisals.


article-1292715-0A38344F000005DC-438_233x473.jpg Stereotyping: Justice Lord Rodger said gay men must 'be free to enjoy themselves going to Kylie concerts and drinking exotically coloured cocktails'


Punishment for homosexual acts ranges from public flogging to execution in Iran, and in Cameroon jail sentences for homosexuality range from six months to five years.

The Court of Appeal had found that both men could conceal their sexual orientation to avoid the risk of being persecuted and neither had a 'well-founded fear of persecution' which entitled them to protection under the Convention.

But Lord Hope, deputy president of the court, who headed a panel of five justices who heard the case over three days in May, said that to compel a homosexual to pretend that their sexuality does not exist or can be suppressed was to deny him his fundamental right to be who he is.


He said persecution of homosexuals was not seen as a problem when the Convention on Refugees was drafted because for many years it was the practice for leaders in countries to deny its existence.


'This was manifest nonsense, but at least it avoided the evil of persecution.


'More recently, fanned by misguided but vigorous religious doctrine, the situation has changed dramatically. The ultra-conservative interpretation of Islamic law that prevails in Iran is one example.


'The rampant homophobic teaching that right-wing evangelical Christian churches indulge in throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa is another.'


He said a 'huge gulf' had opened up in attitudes towards gay people.


'It is one of the most demanding social issues of our time. Our own Government has pledged to do what it can to resolve the problem, but it seems likely to grow and to remain with us for many years.'


He said more and more gays and lesbians were likely to have to seek protection here if it was denied in their home countries.

The Supreme Court justices unanimously found that the test applied by the Court of Appeal was contrary to the Convention and should not be followed in the future.

Both cases will be sent back for reconsideration in light of the guidance provided by the Supreme Court.


article-1292715-06A81DA7000005DC-245_468x603.jpg Judgment: Lord Rodger (left) and Deputy President of The Supreme Court Lord Hope (right). Standing behind is Lord Mance, who did not sit on the case


Home Secretary Theresa May said: 'We have already promised to stop the removal of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

'I do not believe it is acceptable to send people home and expect them to hide their sexuality to avoid persecution.'

'From today, asylum decisions will be considered under the new rules and the judgment gives an immediate legal basis for us to reframe our guidance for assessing claims based on sexuality, taking into account relevant country guidance and the merits of each individual case.

"We will, of course, take any decisions on a case-by-case basis looking at the situation in the country of origin and the merits of individual cases in line with our commitment.'

John Wadham, legal director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission which intervened in the case, commented: 'This judgment sends a clear message to the Government that they must properly take into account a genuine risk of mistreatment due to a person's sexuality when reviewing asylum status.

'A gay person should be allowed to live openly if they choose; concealing their sexual identity to avoid persecution is not something they should be forced to tolerate.'

Jill Roberts, chief executive of the charity Refugee Action, said: 'We are relieved that the Supreme Court has acknowledged that the discretion test is unacceptable and was effectively asking gay people to deny their own identity and live with the daily threat of discovery.

'The UN Convention clearly states that people have a right to protection who are facing persecution because they belong to a certain social group in their society.

'We are calling for further training for UK Border Agency staff in the law, culture and everyday practice that influences a gay person's right to live freely and safely in their own country.

'It is crucial that the right decision is made first time so that people are not returned to danger.'

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Well it's a good decision, but the reasoning behind it is superfluous and rather stereotypical.


I believe people should be able to live wherever they want to live, walk wherever they want to walk (as long as it's not inside someones' home), work wherever they want to work.


What annoys taxpayers is when people who are suffering in their native countries from poverty and persecution decide to move and take advantage of another government's welfare programs. That's a problem with the governments in question, not the individuals taking advantage of them.


On a side note, I think Norway has a thing where they refuse to extradite people to any country that has the death penalty. It's just enlightened thinking, not an attempt to annoy straight people or use taxpayer-financed programs.

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