Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Sydney Archbishop calls age-of-consent bill "regrettable"

Dr George Pell was one of a number of church officials to expressed concern over the NSW Government's push to lower the age of consent for homosexual males to 16 years from 18, the same age as heterosexuals and homosexual females.

"Parliament should not enshrine the ideological claim that homosexual and heterosexual activity are morally equivalent," Pell said. "It sounds a wrong note and makes the task of parents more difficult."

But he added Parliament should also consider raising the age of consent for heterosexual sex - in fact "all parties" - to 18 years of age.

He said: "The legislation must ensure that predatory behaviour by older adults, whether homosexual or heterosexual, towards sixteen and seventeen year olds is effectively prohibited and penalised."

Meanwhile the Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, rejected the justification given by Attorney-General Bob Debus that it was discriminatory to have a different age of consent for some sexual acts.

The NSW Government wants to lower the age of consent for homosexual males to the same age as everyone else in the state.

Labor and Liberal MPs will be allowed a conscience vote on the bill.

Catholic Communications Sydney/NZ Herald
Clergy oppose 'age consent' reform (News Interactive)
NSW Parliament: Equal Age of Consent Inquiry

9 May 2003