Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Legalising Homosexuality

Written by johnleemk on 4:19:47 am Mar 17, 2007.
Categories: ,

The relationship between the state and homosexuals is one with lots of scandal and controversy. At one end of the spectrum, you have people arguing that homosexuals have done nothing wrong and should be free to do as they like. At the other end, you have people who argue that we should just stone anyone caught committing homosexual acts.

There are certainly strong ethical reasons, from a religious point of view, for opposing homosexual behaviour. I personally believe homosexuality is immoral. But at the same time, as long as my own rights are not infringed by homosexual behaviour, I see no reason to forbid it.

From a policy standpoint, I see no reason to criminalise homosexuality. Any act between two consenting adults should be permitted, provided this act does not infringe on the rights of others.

At this point, the moral police will jump in and ask if our rights are not being infringed by public displays of homosexual behaviour. I'm as creeped out by obvious over-the-top public displays of affection by any couple, straight or gay, as the next conservative, but if there should be limits on public behaviour, I think they ought to be set by society.

For example, society finds public nudity, public sexual intercourse, etc. far too scandalous to be permitted. However, they have not seen fit to criminalise public displays of affection, as evinced by the fact that the moral police are often a tiny majority.

An obvious concern is that if children are exposed to the idea that a homosexual relationship is normal and fine, they may in turn become homosexual. But this seems odd to me. After all, many immoral things are not illegal, and yet this does not turn the average child into an unethical violator of the laws of God.

Am I more prone to becoming an adulterer because I am aware that adultery is not a crime, and have seen openly adulterous relationships? I think not. The "won't someone please think of the children" crowd are exaggerating the impact exposure to immoral behaviour can have on children.

In the first place, the onus is on parents to protect their children from exposure to experiences that they do not think fit for the young. If you don't want your kids to know about sex, then don't subscribe to pornographic television channels.

At the same time, parents have to face the reality that in this world, there will always be immoral people, be they adulterers, liars, or homosexuals. Obviously blatant over the top displays of immoral behaviour should not be tolerated, but is there anything more particularly wrong with seeing two men holding hands than seeing a pair of obvious fornicators (normally you can tell from the discrepancy in age — it's rare to see married couples with a huge variation in age) cuddling?

Homosexuality should be legal. Whether it is immoral is a personal question that should be left to the individual, but it is repugnant to prevent consenting adults from engaging in consensual actions that do not harm the public.

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

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