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Opinions of Thursday, 16 June 2011

Columnist: Kwadzo, Adika

Homosexuels Have Rights

In recent past, the thorny issue of the rights of homosexuals has received considerable attention in the Ghanaian media, apparently this age old phenomenon seem to ruffle a lot of nerves when raised - radio talk show hosts, newspaper editorials, magazine platitudes et cetera have all in various ways tried to pontificate on an issues they know little about. Although this is not a comprehensive treatise, it however seeks to offer a dispassionate and rational analysis of the issue.
To begin with, much mumbo jumbo has been thrown about and largely misrepresented by persons leading the debate. Homosexual is the generic term for both lesbians and gays; it is widely described as sexual relations with members of the same sex. Lesbianism describes a sexual relationship between females, it is derived from the name of the sixth century BC Greek island called Lesbo (Lésvos) where writer Sappho and her followers are legend to have practiced homosexuality .Gay on the other hand has never meant two males having sex until relatively recently, it was introduce in the twentieth century in the United states to describe the fun young man claim to have after indulging in male-male sexual escapades to gratify their sexual urge.
A renowned constitutional lawyer Nana Asante Bediatuo has been quoted as having said “for example, one can be born with one leg slightly shorter than another, one can be hard of hearing in one ear; all of these are abnormalities because we expect that a human being should be able to have both ears hearing correctly, both eyes seeing correctly and if you are born and you have a defect of that kind. It is an abnormality but it is an immutable one, it is a natural one and we cannot and should not penalize you for that.” Many who argue along that line insinuate that, homosexuality is by nature and not by choice.
The fact however is that many credible geneticists have come to a conclusion that homosexuals are not born that way neither is their character traits found in genes, on the contrary the overwhelming evidences prove that, they are learned behaviours. Human rights have to do with the protection of unchangeable physical characteristics of a person e.g. one being born with one leg slightly shorter than another or a person born with hearing impairment, this cannot be compared with changeable unbridled human lust such as homosexuality. Interestingly most persons with such natural challenges are opposed to homosexuality.
Indeed every fellow has the right to life, so has the person with homosexual dispositions. That certainly, does not include the right to practice homosexuality as some would have us believe, a distinction between these two positions is vitally important to the understanding of the entire argument. Having a disposition to anything does not license one to practice it – Why should a disposed pederast be restrain by law from satisfying his urge with a consented prepubescent male? How about a bestial who decide to indulge in sex with his morally neutral pet? Whence gone their rights? Expanding the right argument further, a girl of fifteen “who owns her body” has the right to marry or cast a vote in any presidential and parliamentary elections but those rights have been curtail by the constitution, the trust is that, in the good judgment of the framers of the constitution, the consequences of allowing for the exercise of those right are but dire.
Dozens of constitutional lawyers debate an awful lot on the position of the constitution on homosexuality. With unskilled reading of the constitution it may seem vague and confusing, any which way it is looked at, the constitution is not a friend of homosexuals neither has constitutional history been.
Sir William Blackstone, British attorney, jurist, law professor, and political philosopher, authored his Commentaries on the Laws of England from 1765-1769, these commentaries became the premiere legal source used by many countries. In Book the Fourth, Chapter the Fifteenth, “Of Offences Against the Persons of Individuals,” Blackstone stated: “WHAT has been here observed..., which ought to be the more clear in proportion as the crime is the more detestable, may be applied to another offence, of a still deeper malignity; the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast.... But it is an offence of so dark a nature...that the accusation should be clearly made out.... And our ancient law in some degree imitated this punishment, by commanding such miscreants to be burnt to death; though Fleta says they should be buried alive: either of which punishments was indifferently used for this crime among the ancient Goths”.
Generally laws are made to put restraint on members of the society for the collective good of the society, and if there is a need to amend or enact a law to restrain persons whose practices threatens the very existence of the society, those responsible must not hesitate to do so. The question of the position of the law will be limping if its implications are not considered in the discussion and clearly, the laws need a review to completely stamp out this looming threat to society
While acknowledging that culture evolves, it must do so along a logical path, but homosexuality, if allowed to prevail would tear apart the fibre with which the cultural fabric is woven with. The rather colourful picture is painted of societies in which this act has been legalised, but far from that, countries like Norway, Sweden, Netherland, Canada etc are not the pleasant picture Hollywood portrays, not a single anthropologist suggests any society or culture across the world made homosexuality normative.
Scores of research have it that, Children being conservative beings feel loved and do best when groomed by a loving mother and a father, in effect children will be the worst hit if nothing is done to protect them. Imagine a country where class one pupils are thought the traditional family with exceptions because of others “sexual preferences” .Thus teaching vulnerable children complex sex issues. How about the dreaded HIV/AIDS which is more prevalent among homosexuals than heterosexuals? Will it not amount to pressing the self-destruct button if not fought against fervently?
In the midst of the raging arguments there seem to be some subtle attempt to rubbish persons with religious views particularly the Judaeo-Christian worldview, tagging them as prejudicial and homophobic. The irrefutable universal principle however is that, there cannot be a moral law without a moral law-giver i.e. No moral laws came out of nothing, and immediately a moral law is invoke there is an unstated assumption that there is a giver of the law. The constitution of Ghana does not allow stealing because all inherently agrees that stealing is bad then there must be a giver of that innate agreement. If this is true, then one can safely say that God is the moral law giver. This probably may be the strongest point, homosexuality must not be allowed because God hates it and warns every society against it. Nations have risen and fallen and it behoves on the Ghanaian society to protect ours from extinction.
Anyone accusing another person of intolerance in this discourse, solely because he opposes homosexuality is himself not tolerant; there cannot be tolerance without dissent. A person with effeminate and homosexual dispositions must be thought the natural and appropriate sexual relation, while genuinely loving them; nonetheless there is a need to vehemently oppose the act.
Adika Kwadzo