Tuesday, August 21, 2001  South China Morning Post

Religions should treat gays better, says cleric

   Outspoken cleric the Reverend Fung Chi-wood yesterday urged religious groups to change attitudes to homosexuality and stop treating it like a sin.

The former Democrat legislator told a Legco subcommittee looking at the need for legislation to outlaw discrimination against gay men and lesbians that the church was guilty of intolerance towards homosexuals.

"Homosexuality is not a disease and we do not have to cure a disease," he said.

"I hope the Government has more education about what homosexuality is. The Bible goes against many things, but nowadays we [society] are not against those things," he said, adding many attitudes in the Bible did not apply to modern society.

Dr Liu Kam-moon, of the Kau Yan Church Tsung Tsin Mission, told the panel he was concerned about whether homosexuals should be allowed to adopt children. He said same-sex parents could have an adverse affect on a child's development.

Noel Chen, an executive committee member of the gay rights group Rainbow Action, called for equal rights. "We're being discriminated against by the Housing Department and the department has admitted that, but it does nothing to solve the discrimination. We are also taxpayers but why do we enjoy fewer rights?" he said.

Joseph Cho Man-kit, a member of Tongshi Culture Society of the Chinese University, said he was often criticised by passersby when he walked hand-in-hand with his boyfriend. "We are just asking for something we should have the right to do; we are not asking for special treatment."