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Jamaica church leaders rally for anti-sodomy law

BY DAVID MCFADDEN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Several church pastors in Jamaica led a revival meeting Sunday to oppose efforts to overturn the Caribbean country's anti-sodomy law and turn back what they see as increasing acceptance of homosexuality.

Roughly 1,500 people in their Sunday best gathered in a central Kingston park for a spirited religious service two days before a rare court challenge to Jamaica's anti-sodomy law. The island's Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing on Tuesday a petition by a gay rights activist who hopes to challenge the constitutionality of the 1864 law under a charter of rights revamped in 2011.

The colonial-era "buggery law" prohibits anal sex and "gross indecency" between men, outlawing sexual relationships between consenting men. The punishment is 10 years in prison in Jamaica, one of several Caribbean islands with anti-sodomy laws enforced with strong backing from religious groups. Barbados, Guyana and Grenada are among the regional countries that uphold laws prohibiting homosexuality.

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