Push to legalize homosexuality in India

India, operating under colonial-era laws criminalizing homosexuality, appears to be finally joining the debate over allowing privacy in relationships, and with gays campaigning to decriminalize the issue.

The same-sex community in India has been especially bolstered by speeches by federal health minister Anbumani Ramadoss. At the 17th International Conference on AIDS in Mexico city, Ramaoss said, “Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalizes men who have sex with other men, must go.”

“Structural discrimination against those who are vulnerable to HIV such as sex workers and men having sex with men must be removed if our prevention, care and treatment programs are to succeed,” he added.

The penal code section that makes homosexuality illegal has been a subject of much controversy. It states: “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1444&Itemid=34

As Catholics, just because our moral teachings are opposed to certain behaviors, it does not mean that these behaviors need to have criminality attached to them. It always best when we can change hearts and minds through persuasion as opposed to coersion.

Perhaps a life sentence is a bit harsh but, “you give 'em an inch and they take a mile.” I would be very sad for the Indians if this law is taken down.

You’re using the same argument the abortionists use, i.e. “I’m personally opposed to X, but I don’t want to impose…” The only thing I would perhaps suggest is lessening the penalty, but these acts should remain illegal.

Pax.

What a strange argument. By your reasoning, Catholicism could be punishable by life in prison since some Christians believe it from the Devil.

I think in a pluralistic society we do well to respect the different beliefs and value systems of our peoples. Otherwise, you end up with tyranny of the majority, or worse.

Are you really trying to compare an abortion to a private act between consenting adults? That’s quite a stretch.

If you really think these acts are criminal, do you also propose criminal sentences for people caught masturbating? After all, both are against Church doctrine.

There it is!

Homosexuality is different from abortion in that abortion takes a life; while homosexual sex is grave matter, so is skipping Mass on Sunday, or as you have pointed out, masturbating, and those are not things that we have laws against.

I guess. But ideally we wouldn’t have a vastly pluralistic society. No one ever said democracy was perfect…

Yes. They are all sins. I said here they should perhaps lessen the punishment for homosexuality (and masturbation too would be in this category) to something like would be a punishment for ‘disturbing the peace’. Abortion, as it is a more serious sin deserves ar harsher punishment, the same punishment as for murder. But they are all sins and deserve some sort of criminality.

So should we have laws against them? I say: yes. But the punishment would be weaker, something more like that for ‘disturbing the peace’ than for murder.

Pax.

Wow. You are suggesting a ‘disturbing the peace’ law against someone who masturbates in the privacy of their own home?!?

You and I could not be further apart on this issue.

Then I guess we’ll have to accept that. I’m saying yes. But the probability that anyone would actually be caught is extremely small. And I’m not suggesting that we send a police raid in on someone who is expected to have done so. I’m saying that in the case that someone is found out a lesser puninshment for disturbing the peace is appropriate. Just curious, why would you not agree with this?

And, by the way, I don’t believe in privacy as an ultimate and uncancellable right (The oucome of Roe v. Wade’ll do that to you…).

Pax.

And, by the way, I don’t believe in privacy as an ultimate and uncancellable right (The oucome of Roe v. Wade’ll do that to you…).

This is one of my pet peeve counterarguments to Roe V. Wade, because I find it so backwards. There is a right to privacy, and it is implied in the 4th Amendment. Where Roe V. Wade went off the rails, though, is that it saw no conflict of rights.

Abortion is an exercise of the right to privacy, but it is a right superseded by the right of the fetus to live. Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. Your right to privacy ends where my right to life begins.

That’s my position; I think saying there is no right to privacy is downright absurd.

Yes. There is a right to privacy but not one, as you say, that is not ultimate and uncancellable. Like I said, I don’t propose police raids to make sure people aren’t masturbating. That’s an invasion of privacy. But if you’re caught, that’s another thing. No one should have the right to masturbate though so if someone is caught, well…

Pax.

Pax.

The only way someone would be caught is if they are masturbating ‘in public’ - and we already have indecent exposure laws against that.

You say that you aren’t in favor of police raids on those suspected of masturbating in the privacy of their own homes. I’m glad we agree on that!

However, you also say that ‘no one should have the right to masturbate’ and that you also favor some criminal sanctions for those found out to have masturbated in the privacy of their own homes. You asked why I did not agree with this. With all due respect, the reason I disagree with this is because I find it completely nonsensical.

Do the indecent exposure laws give a harsher punishment for masturbating in public than for walking around nude? If not, I feel they should.

And I’m asking you, as a Catholic, what you find nonsensical about it?

Pax.

As to your first question, I have no idea if there are different punishments for someone masturbating in public versus someone walking around nude. Frankly, I hope I never see someone doing either in public!

As to what I find nonsensical about attaching criminal punishment to someone masturbating in the privacy of their own home - it’s in the privacy of their own home, it doesn’t fit any reasoned version of what an actual ‘crime’ is, and because frankly, it is of absolutely no concern to me whatsoever if someone does this.

I’m curious why this bothers you so much - to the extent that you wish to attach criminal punishment? This is a mindset that I am having a difficult time comprehending.

As for that, I think I can answer your question. I think the government should help its people to live good lives. That’s a personal opinion but one I feel strongly about. I said in a previous post that I feel democracy isn’t a perfect system. In fact, I feel it is inherently flawed. It is not a bad system, in fact better than many of the ones that came before it, nor do I have a better option to suggest; I am merely pointing out the inherent flaws of “too much freedom”: that is, that democracies, if kept unchecked will evolve into states of radical egalitarianism (which is a bad thing). As a Catholic, I feel masturbation is sinful and so I feel the state should do it’s best to not turn a blind eye. First comes legality, then what? And the legality in and of itself shows that the government does not think it is a bad behavior. It’s the same laws we have against fornication in some states. Few people can be caught, but technically the behavior is still illegal - and that is a good thing (upholing the moral integrity of government).

Pax.

Thanks for your reply. I understand your reasoning. I will still have to respectfully disagree with you.

At least you see where I’m coming from now… Thanks.

Pax.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.