British Prime Minister David Cameron's comments threatening to withhold aid from developing Commonwealth countries which do not repeal laws criminalising homosexuality caught the attention of many.
Regardless of your moral position on homosexuality, withholding aid from a developing country to force them to change their legislation because of external contrary moral positions has the potential to be harmful.
My choice of words is very deliberate - the PM has put forward a moral position on homosexuality, which he is seeking to impose on certain Commonwealth states. He cannot say that no country has the right to impose its morals on others through legislation to defend that position. He is using aid, of all options, to impose his moral position - unequivocally his moral position is that homosexual acts should not be illegal, criminalised, or subjected to legislative sanction.
So firmly does he hold to this position that he is willing to impose sanctions on developing countries. As we debate this issue, let us bear in mind that moral neutrality is a myth, and thus weigh each side on its merits.
Ordinarily such comments would give rise to arguments as to whether morality should be legislated. However, since PM Cameron has made it clear that certain moral positions can be the subject of sanctions in international policy, the question is, rather, whether his threat is right on a balance of outcomes. I use the word 'right' in the secular sense of the word, questioning whether the urgency and moral duty expressed by the British prime minister are well founded based on an assessment of the consequences.
Certainly, foreign governments have not been as outspoken about garrison politics; the virtual dictatorship between the JLPNP in Jamaica; the imbalance between rich and poor; the lack of disclosure on campaign financing, and so on. Is this threat worth it?
Rights can be restricted
The first question is what is the negative outcome of withholding legal homosexual sex from citizens in countries such as Jamaica. The right to choose one's lifestyle is as applicable to homosexuality as it is to the use of narcotics such as marijuana, or tobacco or alcohol. All three are restricted in the United Kingdom to varying degrees. While the basis is the negative outcomes, based on medical, psychological and sociological study, authorities in the UK have been more open to data on the effects of marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol than they have been on data on the negative outcomes of the homosexual lifestyle.
They have also considered the sociological implications, which do not necessarily harm the person in a conclusive medical sense, but could have harmful effects on the fabric of society. Thus, they banned smoking indoors in England in 2007, restricted alcohol intoxication levels in certain spheres, and banned marijuana despite the human right to choose one's lifestyle. They will raid a private dwelling home in London to seize marijuana on those same grounds, violating various human rights on grounds they will argue are legitimate. So there is no blanket ban on restricting the right to choose, provided there are legitimate grounds.
Only one consequence of not repealing
Thus the only negative outcome of maintaining the anti-homosexual laws is restricting the individual's right to choose, a right which is not without legal restriction on legitimate grounds such as medical, psychological or sociological harm to the individual or society. Several studies, including those conducted by Professors Jones and Yarhouse, research published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy in 2011, and Dr N. Whitehead in the Journal of Human Sexuality in 2011, show that like the choice to possess or smoke marijuana, an individual can not only choose whether or not to have homosexual sex, but also change their homosexual orientation without psychological distress.
Thus the right to choose homosexual sex is not a sacred genetic right, but is open to restriction, provided there are legitimate grounds.
On the other hand, there are scientific arguments which show conclusive medical, psychological and sociological grounds for negative outcomes of homosexual sex. The negative outcomes of homosexual sex and the homosexual lifestyle are not myths of religious fanatics or ignorant homophobes.
An article by Dr John R. Diggs titled 'The Health Risks of Gay Sex' provides a good starting point, referencing several studies conducted by the scientific community. Diggs concluded: "Sexual relationships between members of the same sex expose gays, lesbians and bisexuals to extreme risks of sexually transmitted infections, physical injuries, mental disorders and even a shortened lifespan."
The article cites 129 scientific studies, not conducted by Christians, or homophobes, or narrow-minded developing countries. But there is more. In 2004, WebMD reported a CDC study that showed homosexual sex forms a bridge for HIV to pass to women. This is due to the high levels of promiscuity, high levels of HIV infection, and the high percentage of homosexual males who also have sex with women.
In fact, homosexual practitioners have a significantly higher incidence of anal cancer, chlamydia trachomatis, cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, herpes simplex virus, HIV, HPV, Isospora belli, microsporidia, gonorrhoea, viral hepatitis types B & C, syphilis, according to research published by the Medical Clinics of North America and even the LGBTHealthChannel.
Other studies show that homosexual practitioners also have a higher incidence of haemorrhoids, anal fissures, anorectal trauma, hepatitis A, Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Epstein-Barr virus, Neisseria meningitides, shigellosis, salmonellosis, pediculosis, scabies and campylobacter, retained foreign bodies, and exclusive diseases such as herpes Type 8.
There are also serious mental health consequences. There are other alarming facts. A New York Times article by Erica Goode in 2001 revealed that the practice of anal sex increased in the homosexual community, while condom use has declined 20 per cent and multi-partner sex over seven years, despite billions of US dollars spent on HIV-prevention campaigns.
Furthermore, social and legal approval will lead to more sexual activity. This not only has the medical consequences already discussed, but also economic consequences. As a 2002 study by Michael Hamrick for the Corporate Resource Council shows, the health-care costs resulting from homosexual promiscuity are substantial.
In the Jamaican context, already burdened by free health care, the costs borne by the Jamaican taxpayer will be significantly higher.
In light of the brief summary I have provided, a balanced look at Prime Minister Cameron's threat reveals that there may be a lot more to lose if Jamaica is forced to repeal those 'anti-homosexual' laws. Not only could the country face sanctions from the United Kingdom prior to repealing the laws, but there are other consequences to the homosexual individual, women who may come in contact with them, and the wider society that may outweigh the restriction of homosexuals' right to choose their lifestyle.
These negative consequences may even lead one to conclude that it is necessary and fair to restrict any right to homosexual activity, as necessary and fair as restricting marijuana, alcohol, or tobacco use.
Nevertheless, if PM Cameron has his way, sovereign nations will have no right to choose.
here is my response in audio on the mistake of saying homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica .....and a brief look at the Irish Sexual Offences Act.
Peace and tolerance