THE EDITOR, Sir:
Despite the increasing popularity of community surveillance cameras, not even a well-oiled police state can effectively guard against sex acts, except those that happen in public or that are made public.
So unless my house is bugged with cameras, etc, no one can know what I do or don't do sexually with my wife in our house. Consequently, no matter how carefully worded or comprehensive in scope a law banning all sex acts between couples may be, I wouldn't give a rat's derriere because, unless one of us squealed on ourselves, no evidence would be available in a court of law against us.
On the other hand, if either of us is silly or contemptuous enough to tackle the 'no-sex law', in public, we would unwisely call attention to our sex acts, thus forcing us to grin and bear the legal/societal consequences of our folly.
It seems to me, then, that homosexuals who make public their disagreement with Jamaica's anti-buggery law as a violation of their dubious 'right' are needlessly and foolishly attracting attention to their sex lives. Without their public utterances, who would know and who would care what they do sexually?
The issue here in my view is not privacy or age-consensuality, because neither allows anyone to break a law. If you decide to go public about your sex acts, this might approximate a species of idiocy.
There are heterosexual men who have anal sex with their female partners (whether wife or sweetheart) contrary to Jamaica's anti-buggery law, but unless they squeal on themselves, who would know and who would care?
If one dare make his or her views public about any subject, one need to be prepared for the possible consequences, as a matter of principle.
During his address, Harding also echoed the Wolfden Committee’s basis for the recommendation for relaxing laws against homosexual practices on the grounds that:
“There must remain a realm of private morality and immorality which is, in brief and crude terms, not the law’s business”.
The position of the American Law Institute was also used to bolster the argument that consensual relations between adults, in private, should be excluded from the scope of the criminal law.
In its 1955 draft model penal code, that body recommended that: “No harm to the secular interests of the community is involved in a typical sex practice in private between consenting adult partners, and there is the fundamental question of the protection to which every individual is entitled against State interference in his personal affairs when he is not hurting others”.
Elaborating on his position, Harding explored the contrary positions of Lord Devlin who challenged the notion of value-free law, noting that “the suppression of vice is as much the law’s business as the suppression of subversive activities”. He further suggested that the lack of a common morality promoted social disintegration, “so that society is justified in taking steps to preserve its moral code as it does to preserve its government and other essential institutions”.
But Harding turned that position on its head by pointing to the lack of supportive evidence, as well as by a comparison with a state (Nazi Germany) that had actually sought to enforce moral codes and beliefs, with disastrous consequences for itself and humanity.
“It would have been helpful if Lord Devlin had provided examples of some modern societies which have disintegrated because of the loosening of moral bonds. And it might be a better thing for some societies to disintegrate by loosening its moral bonds. Nazi Germany comes to mind, those societies disintegrate from within more frequently than there are broken up by external pressures,” said Harding.
He also explored the changing notions of public decency and how the public’s views towards certain moral issues had changed over time.
“That there are changes in the moral standards is visible all about. The fact that some pay lip service to an official sexual morality does not disguise the changes.
“The explosion and proliferation of massage parlours, as advertised in our local newspapers, speak to new practices in the contemporary social reality,” said Harding. In summation, Harding offered a position on the length to which the law should go in enforcing morality.
“It is not the function of the law to intervene in the private lives of citizens or seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour further than to preserve public order and decency and to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious and to provide safeguards against exploitation and corruption of others,”
The Creaking Hinges of Closets and Cabinets and In The Closet We Must Stay it Seems
"Keep it to Yuself mentality" on homosexuality part 3 .... stay in our bedrooms?
Backing Down On Buggery? Some Personal Rights Can Be Sacrificed For General Morality ....