Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Get out of gays' bedrooms

Published:Saturday | December 15, 2018 | 12:45 AMMaurice Tomlinson

THE EDITOR, Sir:
If a heterosexual couple wants to join the nearly 40 per cent of their colleagues and try anal intercourse, they will likely just do it. However, our parliamentarians want the public to know about, and approve of, this couple’s private act of intimacy.

This perverse outcome is the result of a recent decision of the parliamentary subcommittee reviewing the Sexual Offences Act, which recommended a referendum on our British colonially-imposed anti-sodomy law.  
This ridiculous decision is not surprising and reflects the cowardice of our elected leaders, who have been cowed into submission by powerful religious extremists. 

Meanwhile, in the over two years that the committee has deliberated about this law, rational courts around the world, including in our Caribbean neighbours of Belize and Trinidad, have held that anti-sodomy laws violate a slew of constitutional rights similar to those found in our Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, including privacy, freedom of expression, and protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Making voyeurs out of the public also debases our society. 
Even worse, global and regional organisations engaged in the HIV response, such as UNAIDS and PANCAP, have found that these statutes contribute to a raging epidemic, especially among men who have sex with men.
Thankfully, Jamaica has a robust justice system that is meant to protect the constitutional rights of minorities from the tyranny of misinformed majorities. I therefore expect that our courts will bravely end this archaic law as well as the international shame that our weak-kneed politicians have brought upon our country. 

MAURICE TOMLINSON

Montego Bay, St James