Cabinet chose to reject the move for legalisation to avoid “social problems”.

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has rejected a proposal to end discrimination based on sexual orientation because it could legitimise homosexuality, which is illegal on the island.

A legacy of its British colonial rulers, Sri Lanka’s 1883 penal code makes sex between men punishable by 12 years in jail, although the law is rarely enforced.

Health minister Rajitha Senaratne said the cabinet had refused to endorse a provision in a proposed human rights plan that would have undermined the code.

“There was a provision referring to the sexual orientation of individuals and we clearly said it was not acceptable,” said Senaratne, who is also the government spokesman.

“The government is against homosexuality, but we will not prosecute anyone for practising it.”

India Today reports that the Cabinet chose to reject the move for legalisation because of opposition from the “Buddhist clergy” and not wanting to cause “social problems”.

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