(GSN): Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera should be arrested for voting in favour of gay rights at the UN, a politician has said.
Wimal Weerawansa, leader of the National Freedom Front, said the minister had violated the country’s penal code by voting against a Russia 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 9 June.
“It will affect our culture. Therefore, the minister should be arrested for violating the penal code.”
Gay sex and romance are criminalised in Sri Lanka under broad ‘gross indecency’ laws.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon extended marital benefits to the lesbian and gay employees last year, without consulting member states.
Russia then presented 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 that the circular was an administrative matter.
Udaya Gammanpila, the General Secretary of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya party, said equality did not mean all groups should be recognised 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 recognised. It’s a wrong interpretation.”