On September 20, 2006, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal upheld a 2005 ruling finding that laws prohibiting homosexual sodomy are unconstitutional, discriminatory and violate Hong Kong's Basic Law and the Bill of Rights. The law imposed life sentences on homosexual men under 21 who engaged in sodomy, while heterosexual and lesbian relationships are legal after the age of 16 and their sexual activity prior to age 16 only calls for a 5-year maximum jail sentence. Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Ma ruled that there was no justification for the different age limit for homosexual men. Homosexuality in Hong Kong was decriminalized in 1991 and the Hong Kong government faced criticism for challenging the 2005 ruling.
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