By Gudrun Schultz

HONG KONG, September 20, 2006 ( – Current laws forbidding homosexual activity for boys and young men between the ages of 16 and 21 have been rejected by Hong Kong’s High Court, after the government appealed an August ruling that struck down the age restriction.

Hong-Kong overturned its anti-sodomy law in 1980, but men engaging in sexual activity, when one or both males were under the age of 21, could face life-imprisonment. The age of consent for heterosexual or lesbian sexual activity in Hong Kong is 16.Â

“I cannot see any justification for either the age limit of 21, or, in particular, for the different treatment of male homosexuals compared with heterosexuals,” Chief Judge Geoffrey Ma said in the judgment, according to the Associated Press.

Medical experts, including those supportive of homosexual activity, have warned that anal sex carries the highest risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS, as well as all other STDs.

“Tiny tears in the anal tissue are like giant superhighways for the HIV viruses, allowing them to get inside the body and enter the blood system. Anal tears provide an opening for all the other STDs as well,” states the University of California’s sex information website.

The Society for Truth and Light, an organization committed to combating pornography, prostitution, and gambling through public awareness campaigns, fought to maintain the age of consent law as it stood on the grounds that a change would trigger an increase in AIDS infections among young men, according to Asia Media. The group petitioned the government to appeal the August High Court ruling, submitting a petition containing 27,500 signatures.

The Hong Kong government defended the age of consent law as a protection for boys and young men who could be “corrupted” by predatory older males, in a statement by the Home Affairs Bureau at the outset of the court battle.

The government is reviewing the ruling and has not said whether it will further appeal the case.

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Gay Activists Ask Canada to Lower Age of Consent for Anal Sex, National Post Agrees