The government will not initiate legislation to protect homosexuals from discrimination until there is public and legislative support, a senior Home Affairs Bureau official said yesterday. Acting Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Stephen Fisher said that it would only hurt the government and waste public funds to introduce a bill that did not have enough support from the public or the Legislative Council. But rights activists said it was ridiculous for minority rights protection to be contingent on majority support. Mr Fisher compared an anti-discrimination law on sexual orientation to the process of drafting an anti-racism bill in Hong Kong. 'In a matter of less than 10 years, there was a major shift in public attitudes towards racial discrimination,' Mr Fisher said, comparing government surveys from the mid-1990s and a few years ago on whether the city should have an anti-racism law. 'Maybe as a result of public education, maybe because social attitudes are changing in Hong Kong we are confident that this time around the racial discrimination bill will have support in the legislature,' he said. 'On sexual orientation discrimination, we must have community support and support in the legislature before we can introduce a bill. Without that, we cannot move forward or it will fail in the end, will hurt the government and result in a loss of resources.' A telephone survey of the public's views towards homosexuals launched last week was one of the ways the government would gauge public views, he said. The bureau is also planning a carnival to be held in Kowloon Park in mid-January to promote the rights of sexual minorities. But Paul Louey Chi-ming of Aids Concern said rights activists had repeated 'over and over again that minority rights should not be based on public attitudes. It is ridiculous to base on public acceptability the protection of the rights of minorities.' Speaking at a sexual minorities forum led by Mr Fisher, members of rights groups also criticised the Education and Manpower Bureau's decision to appoint the Society for Truth and Light to conduct a human rights education course. They claimed the group's apparent anti-gay stance and refusal to talk about sexual minorities' rights to equal opportunity made it an unsuitable choice. Mak Ping-sum, senior curriculum development officer for the Education and Manpower Bureau, said the society was chosen for its overall bid.