• LGBTI organization Shams says the pair were simply walking down the street. (Getty Images / Romolo Tavani)Source: Getty Images / Romolo Tavani
The Cabinet says it did not want to cause “social problems”.
Michaela Morgan

19 Jan 2017 - 12:50 PM  UPDATED 19 Jan 2017 - 12:50 PM

Sri Lanka has rejected attempts to decriminalise homosexuality after a Cabinet meeting this week.

The country still adheres to the 1883 Penal Code that states that same sex acts are punishable by up to ten years in prison. The code was reviewed in 1995 following a gay rights campaign, but instead of being repealed, it was expanded to include women.  

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Each man has been sentences to seven years in prison.

Reports say the Cabinet chose to reject the move for legalisation because of opposition from the “Buddhist clergy” and not wanting to cause “social problems”.

The Minister of Health - Rajith Senaratne - said the Cabinet stands opposed to the request for decriminalising homosexuality but that the government will “not prosecute anyone for practising it.”

Instead of legalisation, a provision will now be placed in the country’s Human Rights Action Plan seeking to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.