Peru To Sack 'Scandalous' Gays From Police Force
Peruvian police officers who "damage the image" of law enforcement by engaging in homosexual behavior can lose their jobs under a new law designed to overhaul an unpopular national police force.
The new law that went into effect Tuesday also says officers will be fired for taking bribes and abusing detainees.
In sexual matters, however, distinctions are made between heterosexual and homosexual police officers. Those who commit adultery only face suspension, but expulsion is required for those who engage in "sexual relations with people of the same sex that cause a scandal or damage the image of the institution."
Peru's Supreme Court in 2004 overturned a ban on homosexuality in the police and military. But like the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell policy" — which bans homosexuals from disclosing their sexual orientation — the new law tries to sidestep the issue without banning homosexuality outright.
"The only thing that is penalized now are the scandals that can be caused by a scandalous relationship, if they are homosexuals," Interior Ministry spokesman Fransisco Ugarteche said Thursday.
But Jorge Chavez, president of the Lima Homosexual Movement, said the law appears to violate constitutional guarantees against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"Heterosexuality isn't scandalous but homosexuality is? It's discriminatory," Chavez said.
Former Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi said the courts probably would overturn measures that try to regulate homosexuality and adultery if challenged.
"Under this administration's watch corruption in the police force has grown, but they are more worried about these type of things," Rospigliosi told The Associated Press.
In February, Peru's interior minister suspended four female police officers without pay after a video of the women dancing seminude in a police barracks surfaced on a local video-sharing Web site.
The women said someone stole the cell phone that recorded the video and uploaded it without their consent. They have yet to rejoin the force.
Associated Press Writer
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
(Photo: Getty Images)