No gay police in Peru: homosexuals barred from the police force

To improve the wilting image of Peru’s National Police, Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas put forward a set of new regulations that contain a provision designed to ban homosexuals from the police force.

According to the regulations, which critics label discriminatory and unconstitutional, any police officer who engages in homosexual relations will be immediately and indefinitely suspended from the police force.

Cabanillas’ anti-gay sanctions echo the longstanding Military Code of Justice, which continues to define homosexuality as a crime, in violation of a 2004 ruling by Peru’s highest court, the Constitutional Tribunal, that deemed military discrimination based on sexual orientation as unconstitutional.

Last December, Peru was one of the few Latin American nations that did not support a United Nations General Assembly human rights declaration seeking to decriminalize homosexuality.

The new sanctions pushed by Cabanillas also apply to heterosexual police officers who engage in extramarital relations, and to police who take part in pro-labor strikes or protest marches. Other regulations aim to eliminate bribery at police stations.

Homosexuality in Peru, a devout Catholic country, is perceived as inherently flawed and often as an illness.

A homosexual rights movement exists in Peru since 1983, but it has been slow to take hold. It was not until 2002 that Peru’s first gay pride parade took place, but even the few hundreds marchers present wore masks to hide their identities and carried signs saying, “we want to be visible, but intolerance suppresses us.”

According to GaysinPeru, although there are no longer any laws explicitly prohibiting sexual activity between civilians of the same sex in Peru, authorities frequently invoke vague laws aiming to uphold “public morality” as a tool to repress sexual “deviance.” Penalties range from 20 days to 20 years in jail for “dishonorable acts of carnal knowledge against the order of nature.”

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