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Sri Lanka's foreign minister threatened with arrest after voting for gay rights at UN

Minister is accused of violating the country's ban on homosexuality

Sri Lanka's foreign minister threatened with arrest after voting for gay rights at UN

Sri Linka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera should be arrested for voting in favor of gay rights at the UN, an MP has said.

Wimal Weerawansa, leader of the National Freedom Front, said the minister had violated the country’s penal code by voting against a Russian resolution calling for the withdrawal of partner benefits to gay and lesbian UN employees.

‘Being gay and lesbian-friendly has become our foreign policy today. This will result in negative consequences in the long run for Sri Lanka,’ he told reporters on Tuesday (9 June).

‘It will affect our culture. Therefore, the minister should be arrested for violating the penal code.’

Gay sex and romance are banned in Sri Lanka under a broad ‘gross indecency’ law.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon extended marital benefits to lesbian and gay employees last year, without consulting member states.

Russia then brought its resolution, which was defeated by a majority vote – including that of Sri Lanka.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ajith P Perera categorically denied that Sri Lanka had voted to promote gay rights and said the circular was an administrative matter.

Udaya Gammanpila, general secretary of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya party, said equality did not mean all groups should be recognized as equals.

‘Right for equality is something considered before the law. It means a person’s sexual orientation, religion or language should not be considered when making a legal decision on that person,’ he said.

‘It doesn’t mean all groups are equally recognized. It’s a wrong interpretation.’

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