“There is no place for the State in the bedroom of the nation. What’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code…” – Pierre Elliot Trudeau
Ask the question: “Are people born gay?” and you will likely get one of the following two answers; NO. Human beings choose to be gay. They make immoral choices and the devil’s work has no place in our society. There is a reason why God created a man and woman. Some will say.
‘YES.’ Homosexuality is biologically determined. Some people were in wrong bodies. It is not their fault and there is nothing they can do about it. Others will answer back.
Either way, we need to protect gay people from discrimination because their sexual preference is an unchangeable part of their identity.
Regardless of which side of the coin you lean on, the fact remains; there are lesbians, gays, and bisexual (LGBT) people in this world. Why they exist is a subject matter for another day.
Homosexuality has existed since the beginning of time, and they have contributed to human societies as long there have been humans. They serve a purpose or do they not?
We interact with them, some are preachers, architects, accountants, marketers, waiters, teachers, interior decorators, doctors, lawyers, journalists, plumbers, builders, musicians’ politicians and etcetera…… the list is endless.
Homosexuality is controversial and illegal in most countries and a result there are so many closet homosexuals amongst us. I know people who are married and have fathered children but are secretly gay.
Now the question is; is homosexuality a sin or a crime? Or is it both? Is it an act of immorality or is it a criminality? If it is an act of immorality, can we fight and successfully curb an immoral behaviour?
If is a crime, who is offended? Must what two grown up adults decide to do with their ‘private parts’ in their bedrooms be anybody’s business?
‘The law is an ass’
Many of us spend the greater part of our lives without occasion to consider just what it is that we expect from the legal system of the country we live in.
Nevertheless we not infrequently express our vies of our society in terms that make it clear that our attitudes to the law, even though muddled, are in fact reasonably definite.
On the other hand, we may comment indignantly on what we see as a lack of regulation of their behaviour, believing that the law should protect not only ourselves and our property, but also our sense of what is ‘right’: We would say;
‘I think it’s criminal – they ought to e locked up!’
‘Isn’t it disgusting? There ought to be a law against it.’
They shouldn’t be allowed to do that, it is not Malawian. It is against our culture.’
On the other hand, we don’t always respect ourselves.
Surely, the law is an ass…..
The law and morality must not be confused, and I strongly believe that religion and politics should be kept separate. Above all else, love must not be put on trial but also stupidity mustn’t be glorified.
Obviously, the most heinous crimes are also considered by most people to be gravely immoral – for example murder, rape and theft and in the recent years changing moral attitudes have indeed influenced the criminal law: to take one instance suicide used to be an offence, it is no longer a crime.
Notoriously, there are wide differences of opinion today as to how far the law ought to punish immoral acts. Parliament is the proper place, and I am firmly of the opinion the only proper place, to settle that….
Where Parliament fears to tread, it is not for the courts to rush in.
Viscount Simonds, however, differed in his view of the law. H1e said;
“In the sphere of criminal law, I entertain no doubt that there remains in the courts of law a residual power to enforce the supreme and fundamental purpose of law, to conserve not only the safety and order but also the moral welfare of the state and that it is their duty to guard it against attacks which may be more subtle and insidious because they are novel and unprepared for.’’
The respective functions of morality and the criminal were considered by the official Wolfenden Committee which reported in 1957 on homosexual offences and prostitution. The Committee concluded:
“There appears to be no unquestioned definition of what constitutes or ought to constitute a crime.”
They thought that the function of the criminal law was ‘‘To preserve public order and decency from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against the exploitation and corruption of others, particulars those who are vulnerable because they are young, weak in body or in mind, inexperienced, or in a state of special physical, official or economic dependence.”
It is not in Mtumiki Woyamba’s considered view, the function of the law to intervene in the private lives of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour, further than necessary to carry out the purposes I have outlined.
‘LGBT rights in the world’
The United States of America recently imposed sanctions on Uganda for anti-gay laws it says are “counter to universal human rights”.
Uganda’s president Yoweri kaguta Museveni in February 2014 signed the controversial anti-gay bill that has harsh penalties for homosexual sex, saying the bill is necessary because “arrogant and careless Western groups” had tried to “recruit” Ugandan children into homosexuality.
The US also threatened sanctions on Nigeria over its’ anti-gay bill passed in 2013.
However, in November 2013 the same US refused to comment on Saudi Arabia where homosexual conduct is punishable by death. They turn a blind eye towards some countries’ ‘human rights abuses’.
Geez, I wonder why.
The way the west imposes LGBT rights on Africa would make someone believe they sorted out their laws decades ago but nope. Currently, only eighteen countries worldwide have national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry and the (GASP!)
United States is not on this list. Even England and Wales only legalized same sex marriage in 2013!
They have a habit of poking their long noses into the business of other countries when at home they can’t even stand on their own two feet without tripping over their own shoelaces. And, if it wasn’t for South Africa, then same sex relationships would have been illegal in all the countries in Africa.
So, if it is taking centuries for them, advanced democracies and developed nations, to legalize it why do they expect Malawi to do it overnight? Why force us to outlaw anti-gay laws [now]? Clearly this is not an issue to be discussed at gun point.
Homosexuality is a taboo subject that we usually try to ignore. LGBT rights debates are driven by western’s best interests, not Malawi’s benefits and gains.
The West makes sure it rules the Rest and therefore imposes everything as a sure sign to gain more power.
Homosexuality exists, and like prostitution it is an individual choice. It is not for anybody to judge anyone. Mbuto ya kalulu inakula ndi dzaoneni!
It is my view therefore that we need to handle issues involving homosexuality in our own way and never to be influenced by anybody. If it’s money they want to use as bait to lure us into dancing to their tune on homosexuality, then let them keep their money. We don’t need it.
Our dignity is not for sale.
- Mtumiki Woyamba is a Nyasa Times columnist using the pen name because of his public position in Malawi