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The Degree Of Homosexual Forms Of Attraction Sociology Essay

2. Homosexual relationships and acts have been admired as well as criticized as shameful throughout the history, depending on the form they took and the culture in which they occurred. There are ample examples from the history to show that homosexuality had been approved. In fact, ancient Greeks and Romans considered it is masculine to be a penetrator despite the sex of the penetrated person, thus never stigmatized homosexuality. It is alleged that Julius Caesar had a love affair with king Nicomedes IV, the king of Bithynia, and Nero who became the Emperor of Rome in AD 54 had married two men in legal ceremonies. However, with the influence of the abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam that believe such behaviour is sinful, the world especially the western part of it has traditionally forbidden sodomy.

3. Most societies, consider homosexuality as against the nature, religion, culture and/or the accepted social norms, and some times as a disease, a psychological disorder or a perverse sexual choice. It is mostly talked about in hushed tones, behind closed doors or only among exclusive groups. Due to the social stigma that is associated with their sexuality, homosexuals tend to hide their sexual and gender identity from those around them.

4. Criminalization of homosexual activities in most Asian countries is essentially based on the colonial-era Indian Penal Code drafted by the British in 1860, which was subsequently introduced across the Empire. Being an ex-colony of the Britain, Sri Lanka still abides by the penal laws so introduced by the English, penalizing same-sex sexual activities.

5. Although the laws penalizing homosexual activities in Sri Lanka is a direct result of the Western Christian belief that marriage is defined by the union of a man and a woman, and that any sexual act outside marriage is inherently sinful, a steady progress in the relaxation of anti-gay laws could be seen in the past in the western countries. Jeremy Bentham, an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer is one of the first people to fight for the decriminalization of sodomy in England as far back as in 1785. Before the French Revolution, sodomy was a serious crime in France and homosexuals were burned to death. However, France progressed decriminalizing sex between adult homosexuals in 1971, introducing anti-discrimination legislation in 1982, and enacting Civil Solidarity Pacts (PACS), a form of registered domestic partnership in 1999 for same-sex couples. Denmark that decriminalized homosexuality in 1933, recognized legal partnerships in 1989 and further improved its laws allowing Joint adoption by same-sex couples in 2009. By now, almost 20 countries of the world including the United Kingdom have legally accepted Civil Unions and

registered partnerships while seven countries have already recognized same-sex marriages.

6. Whilst a majority of the west as well as few in the east have improved their laws to give more rights to gays, most Asian countries including Sri Lanka still keep sticking with the anti-gay laws handed down by their colonial leaders. According to homosexual rights activists, between 8 to 10% of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are believed to be LGBT [1] and few organizations in Sri Lanka fighting for the rights of LGBT claim that Sri Lanka criminalizes same-sex sexual activities under Sec.365A of its Penal Code, contradicting international human rights standards. They refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 1 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and argue that the laws in Sri Lanka and its homophobic social environment create a smothering atmosphere for the LGBT people. Arguing that LGBTs are subjected to discrimination on many fronts and that their family, career, and their life face threats, they urge the Sri Lankan government to change the present laws that criminalize homosexual behaviours. Local gay rights activist and director and founder of Companion on a Journey [2] , Sherman De Rose said, “We are against the fact that we are being called criminals in our own land. We are not criminals, we are citizens. It is very incorrect to call us criminals. We have the right to live and be treated as normal human beings” expressing his views on this issue.

7 The present struggle of the LGBT activists in Sri Lanka is only to have Sec. 365A of the Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality repealed, accordingly allowing the LGBT to come out of their closets.  However, this should be considered only as the first step of a very long journey where development of their situation with more rights similar to rights gained by the gays in western countries would be soon sought after, if or when their primary need is achieved.

8. However, Sri Lanka being a country that Christianity influences boasts of a refined culture for centuries and which since 1505BC with the arrival of the Portuguese, its society could be very adamant against accepting the legal changes favouring the gay rights. It would definitely not be an easy task even to succeed the initial step itself.

CHAPTER II

METHODOLOGY

AIM

1. The aim of this paper is discuss the present laws about homosexuality and problems presently faced by the gay community in Sri Lanka. It also looks at the history of the homosexuality, the myths, and cultural and religious perception of the homosexuality.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

2. This essay mainly focuses on the problems presently faced by the gay community in Sri Lanka, the extent of the rights that they might be able to win in the future and what lessons Sri Lanka could learn from the other countries of the world whose laws have been loosened to give more freedom and rights to gays. It also looks at the history of the homosexuality, the myths and the medical viewpoint on the homosexuality.

THE RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

3. Sri Lanka needs to loosen its laws against homosexual relationship in Sri Lanka when comparing with the international human right standards.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE

4. In most societies including Sri Lanka homosexuality consider as something against the accepted social norms, as a disease or a psychological disorder.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

5. Present legal background of homosexuality in other western countries.

6. The problems presently faced by the Gay community in Sri Lanka and what lessons Sri Lanka can learn from the other countries of the world where laws have been loosened to give more rights to Gays.

7. Few organizations in Sri Lanka fighting for the rights of LGBT and they claim that Sri Lanka criminalizes same-sex sexual activities under Sec.365a of the Penal Code.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

8. This paper will discuss the present laws against the homosexuality in Sri Lanka and present legal background of the western countries. Social and religious viewpoint about the homosexuality in Sri Lanka and organizations in Sri Lanka who are fighting for their rights and their viewpoint.

METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION

9. Discussions with public as well as few prominent homosexual rights activists and further the questionnaire in annex E were distributed among public to gather ideas of the society.

STRUCTURE OF THE PAPER

10. The structure of the paper is as follows;

CHAPTER I : Introduction

CHAPTER II : Methodology

CHAPTER III : Development of Laws on Homosexuality

CHAPTER IV : Sri Lankan Situation

CHAPTER V : View of the Homosexuality in Sri Lanka

CHAPTER VI : Conclusion and the Recommendations

CHAPTER III

DEVELOPMENT OF LAWS ON HOMOSEXUALITY

1. Laws relating to homosexuality differ vastly among different states of the world from penalization of same-sex sexual activity to recognition of same-sex marriages or other types of gay unions. As of December 2008, 77 countries in the world condemn homosexuality as illegal whereas Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen punish it by death. Almost 20 countries of the world including the United Kingdom have legally accepted Civil Unions and registered partnerships while Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain, South Africa and Canada are the seven countries that have already recognized same-sex marriages.

2. For the first time in the history human rights were given significance when the United Nations Charter of 1945, the foundational treaty of the United Nations, in its preamble called for the respect of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was drafted in 1948 states in its Article 1 that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, and continues to reaffirm that "everyone is entitled to the enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" in Article 2.

3. However, these instruments were drafted at an age when homosexuality or sexual orientation were no crying issues, and therefore, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was not even mentioned therein. During this era even though homosexuality had been in existence, the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic Church made open-homosexuality a matter of scandal and the laws against sodomy were in high swing. However in the sixties, other social movements such as ‘Women’s Liberation’, ‘Anti-Vietnam War Movement’ and ‘Black Power Movement’ inspired some Gay activists to be more radical, making way for demonstrations like ‘Stonewall Riot’ to fight back against a government-sponsored system that maltreated sexual minorities. Organizations fighting for the rights of LGBT started springing up all over the world, firstly in the western world spreading steadily to non-western countries, too by the 1990s. LGBT rights advocates argue that the use of death penalty and arbitrary arrest or detention as well as deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are human rights violations that contravene the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that universal laws are crucial to protect these minorities all over the world.

4. Even the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms popularly known as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that was drafted in 1950 for the protection of human rights and fundamental rights in the Europe or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 do not expressly cover discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

5. With the view of filling this lacuna in the international human rights law, in 2003, Brazil introduced a draft resolution titled “Human Rights and Sexual Orientation” (popularly known as the Brazilian resolution) addressing the issue of equal rights for homosexuals to the 53-member UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolution was intended for acknowledging discrimination based on sexual orientation and protecting those affected by it. However, as expected by Brazil some countries that had supported LGBT rights movements earlier did not support this Brazilian motion and consequently, the matter was fixed to be voted in the next year.

6. Before the 2004 Commission session, Pakistan as well as ‘the Holy See’ [3] circulated their views against the Brazilian resolution. Although a massive lobbying that had never seen before had taken place in support for the resolution, Brazil withheld reintroducing the motion at the session and deferred it to the next year seeking more time to consult other countries. Even at the 2005 session, the resolution was not reintroduced for lack of support and thereby the Brazilian initiative finally ended.

7. Again, in December 2008, 66 countries out of the 192 UN members signed and submitted a gay rights declaration that was sponsored by France and Netherlands to the UN General Assembly, which was promptly rejected by the Vatican and several Arab countries. It urged that the laws criminalizing homosexual activities be abolished. Notwithstanding its belief that this declaration is a lawful endeavour to stop the harassment of gays, the Vatican is concerned that elimination of anti-gay discriminations would promote for same-sex marriages, civil partnerships and gay adoptions that would defy the Christian core. While a majority of the west including the European Union plus some states from the rest of the world were signatories to the declaration, sixty other countries, mostly Muslim states, immediately joined in submitting a rival statement that divided the general assembly into two. The opponent group shared the view that laws on homosexuality should be left for the discretion of individual state and feared that the ratification of this declaration could legitimize unforgivable acts including paedophilia. The two statements remain open for further signatures.

8. Although USA under the Bush administration initially withheld its support to both documents, its new ‘Obama’ administration declared to the world on the 18th of March 2009 that they are ready to endorse the gay rights declaration which is a great victory for the same-sex rights campaigners. Sri Lanka is still among the nations that did not accede to the gay rights declaration.

9. European Convention on Human Rights has not explicitly mentioned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender-identity, yet the cases filed byJeffrey Dudgen [4] in 1980 against the United Kingdom and Senator David Norris [5] in 1988 against the Republic of Ireland were successful before the European Court of Human Rights. The court ruled in both cases that legislation passed in the nineteenth century in England, Wales and Ireland criminalizing homosexual acts between ‘consenting adult males in private’ violated the right to respect for private life mentioned in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

10. As a consequence of the previously mentioned Norris V. Ireland judgment, in 1982 male Same-sex acts were decriminalized in Northern Ireland, where female homosexuality had never been a criminal offence. Male homosexual acts had been decriminalized beforehand in England and Wales in 1967 but in Republic of Ireland only in 1993 despite the Norris judgment.

11. Another international treaty that is important for the Sexual Orientation is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which speaks about non-discrimination in its Article 2(1). Further, while its Article 17(1) states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour or reputation, Article 26 assert that “all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law”. It continues “...the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

12. Likewise to the Asian countries, Australia also inherited its Sodomy Laws from the Britain through colonization in 1766. However, with the gradual acceptance of gay and lesbian communities throughout Australia, its states and territories started decriminalizing homosexual activities, which happened during the period between 1975 and 2003. The state of Tasmania, the last to decriminalize homosexuality was compelled to do so because of the case of Toonen V. Australia. [6] Nicholas Toonen, an Australian gay activist residing in Tasmania in 1993 submitted a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) against Sections 122(a) and (c), and 123 of the Tasmanian Criminal Code. He argued that the continued existence of the said Sections, that criminalize all forms of sexual contact between consenting adult males in private, in the Criminal Code of Tasmania is a reason that promote discrimination, harassment and violence against homosexual Tasmanians and thereby violates the provisions for non-discrimination, privacy and equality in the ICCPR. The UNHRC confirmed that the references to “sex” in Articles 2(1) and 26 of the ICCPR should be taken to include Sexual Orientation and that “sexual conduct in private” is within the meaning of “privacy” in the Article 17(1) of ICCPR. Concluding that the Tasmanian laws were not reasonable and have arbitrarily interfered with Toonen’s right to privacy under the ICCPR, the committee had recommended that the laws be repealed. A precedent has been so created within the UN human Rights system regarding discrimination against homosexuals.

CHAPTER IV

SRI LANKAN SITUATION

1. In the year 1883 Penal Code of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was introduced to the country’s justice system and it was a piece of legislature identical to the Penal Codes of other British colonies including India. Its Section 365A spoke for the first time about the offence of ‘Gross Indecency between male persons’ in the Sri Lankan history.

2. Until 1995, the subjects of this law were only men and ‘Lesbianism’ was not acknowledged in this land. However, in the 1995 under the guise of making the law less discriminatory towards men or ‘gender-neutral', the Penal Code was amended criminalizing both male and female same-sex sexual activity, although it is common knowledge that no one has been prosecuted for this offence during the last 50 years.

3. However, there are few organizations in Sri Lanka fighting for the rights of LGBT [7] and they claim that Sri Lanka criminalizes same-sex sexual activities under Sec.365a of the Penal Code, contradicting international human rights standards. They refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 1 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and argue that the laws in Sri Lanka and its homophobic social environment create a smothering atmosphere for the LGBT people. According to sexual rights activists, between 8 to 10% of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are believed to be LGBT. They argue that LGBTs are subjected to discrimination on many fronts and that they face blackmail by others; face threats to their family, career, and their life and therefore, urge the Sri Lankan government to change the present laws that criminalize the homosexual behaviours. Local gay rights activist and director and founder of Companion on a Journey [8] , Sherman De Rose said, ‘We are against the fact that we are being called criminals in our own land. We are not criminals, we are citizens. It is very incorrect to call us criminals. We have the right to live and be treated as normal human beings’ expressing his views on this issue.

4. It is evident how the Sri Lankan society, in general, treat the homosexuality, from a controversial decision of the Press Council of Sri Lanka (which is a government body established by the Press Council Act of 1973 to regulate the press in Sri Lanka), headed by Wijedasa Rajapakse, President’s Counsel [9] over a complaint against the publication of an article that appeared on newspaper ‘The Island’ on August 20, 1999. The material in question had been published under the headline ‘Lesbian Conference in Colombo?’ and had expressed outrage over a planned national lesbian conference. The author had written:

Lesbianism in my opinion is a despicable, irreligious, and profane crime against nature and all things undefiled (sic) and hence, perpetrators of this cursed cult do not deserve to be tolerated in decent society. They are social outcasts and should be treated as such.” The author had appealed to leaders of religious denominations in Sri Lanka to form a united front to prevent this “macabre meeting” from taking place, and had called on police to “chip in with some very effective assistance.” The letter had concluded stating: “If by some chance those lesbians manage to get the necessary approval to hold their convocation, I request the police authorities to round up a sizeable collection of convicted rapists and let them loose among the jubilant but jaded jezebels when their assembly is in full swing, so that those wanton and misguided wretches may get a taste of the zest and relish of the real thing.

5. Sherman De Rose of ‘Companion on a Journey’ had complaint to the Press Council against the publication of the aforesaid article and the Press Council, on 2 June 2000, dismissing his complaint ruled that the content of the letter was proper and unobjectionable and that its publication did not constitute a breach of Section 9 of the Press Council Act, as well as, the national Code of Ethics for Journalists, which states: "A journalist shall not present any matter in a manner designed to promote sadism, violence, or salacity." Invoking Section 365A of the Penal Code, the council had further stated therein: "Homosexualism is an offence in our law” and had proclaimed that lesbianism "an act of gross indecency," "unnatural," and "an act of sadism and salacious."

6. This decision of a government body of Sri Lanka has stirred up the prominent groups fighting for the rights of LGBT community in Sri Lanka. Women’s Support Group (WSG), Companion on a Journey (CoJ) and Equal Ground are only a few of them. These groups are presently operating actively in Colombo, Kurunagala. Kandy and Anuradhapura. Their current aim is to have the law that criminalizes the homosexual activities repealed or amended, to allow the LGBT to come out of their closets.

7. Sri Lanka is a country that boasts of a rich culture that features a wide variety of folk beliefs and traditional rituals, which has also been influenced by Buddhism, Christianity as well as the western cultures that gifted by its colonial rulers. Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka in 250 BC, the first year of King Devaanampiya Thissa is ruling by a group of Buddhist missionaries headed by Mahinda Thera, the son of the great Indian Emperor Asoka, who was a good friend of King Thissa. On arrival of Mahinda Thera and the team itself, the Sri Lankan king and his retinue of forty thousand people embraced the new faith. Since then Buddhism became the official religion of the country and generations of Sinhalese kings worked with immense passion for its progress. Although Buddhism was born in India, Sri Lanka is the Buddhist nation with the longest continued history of Buddhism, having 70% out of the entire population of the country as its followers. Sri Lankan Sinhalese society depends immensely on Buddhism and the Buddhist priests used to advice the public in general as well as the rules of the nation. Since 1505, the country came under the influence of the western colonizers such as the Portuguese, Dutch and the British as well as the Christian missionaries; hence, Christianity as well as the colonial laws became a part of the Sri Lankan culture.

8. The talented Sri Lankan writer Punyakanthi Wijenaike based her famous novel “Giraya” on the subject of homosexuality, the main character in it being a gay man who had succumbed to the pressure of his parents and entered into marriage with a girl. This novel illustrates how the man kept away from his wife for want of attraction and how the victimized wife continued to live with her closeted queer husband even after his secret was out, because in the eyes of the society they had to be seen as a family. This novel was later made into a Tele-drama. The comments made by the director of the Tele-drama, Mr. Somaweera Senanayake at an interview given to the weekend on line newspaper “The Nation on Sunday” proves where homosexuality stands in the Sri Lankan society. He stated therein that since issues like homosexuality cannot be openly discussed in a local Tele-drama, he had to switch the main character who was a gay in the novel into a ‘nerve imbalance’ patient whose marriage has affected due to the illness.

CHAPTER V

VIEWS OF THE HOMOSEXUALITY IN SRI LANKA

VIEW OF THE SOCIETY

1. Apart from the Penal law, which prohibits same-sex activities, the Sri Lankan society in general rejects homosexuality as immoral and against its culture. All Buddhist laity that is 70% of the entirety, is guided by the five basic moral principles called “Pancha Seela” which are developed from the teachings of Lord Buddha as requirements of the practice of moral goodness for both ordained and non-ordained. The speciality of these Buddhist precepts is that in the case of laity they are only rules of training that one could choose to follow or abide by but not commandments by a god like in the Abrahamic religions. The Buddhist condemnation of homosexuality is based on the third precept “Kamesu michchachara wera mani sikkhapadan samadiyami [10] “, which simply means ‘I undertake the course of training in refraining from wrong-doing in respect of sexuality’. It is understood that under the third precept one would abstain from over indulgence or aberration of sexual pleasures although for Buddhist clergy inclusive of nuns it means complete sexual abstinence. It is noteworthy that homosexuality is not mentioned in the third precept in words and Lord Buddha had never discussed consensual premarital sex within a committed relationship; however, most Buddhists interpret it denouncing premarital sex, sex outside wedlock and sex by force or without consent, including homosexual activities as they cannot be integrated in marital sex.

2. This study involved discussions with random individuals from different sections of the Sri Lankan community on ‘possibilities for changes for the homosexuals in Sri Lanka’. The biggest problem faced was getting the people to open up and talk about the subject. When they spoke, it was predominantly against it. It revealed that even the most educated such as doctors and lawyers tend to believe homosexuality as a curable deviation from the accepted social norm and did not care about the consequences faced by gays under Sec.365A of the Penal Code. Most of the Sri Lankan medical practitioners are unaware and/or cared less of the recent western belief that homosexuality is the 3rd gender, male and female being the 1st and the 2nd. The Sri Lankan community vehemently rejects the claim of the gay activists that “gays are not made but born” in general. The views of the uneducated and people from the rural areas of the country were stronger against homosexuality. When it was pointed out that the homosexuals might not be able to help it, as there is a possibility for them to have born gay, some people used the fundamental Buddhist principle of “Karma” to explain their theory that “it is due to their ‘Karma’ the homosexuals are born so and therefore, they have to bear it until the end of their days”. (According to Wikipedia, ‘Karma’ means whatever one does, says or thinks which brings about fruits or results either within the present life or in a context of future rebirth.) They even reject the claim of the gay rights activists that 8% to 10% out of the entire Sri Lankan population are homosexuals questioning the sources of finding it. They declare further that

CALIM OF THE HOMOSEXUAL’S

3. However, there are strong counter-arguments presented by gay rights activists in interpreting the third precept. They claim that Lord Buddha did not say anything specifically about homosexuality for the laity because it has never been an issue among the lay people. However, the vinaya pitakaya (monastic rules) had prohibited only the monks from engaging in any sort of sex irrespective of whether it is homosexual, heterosexual or by themselves because complete sexual relinquishment is expected as an essential feature of the monastic life. There had been instances in the Buddhist history when monks had been disrobed for engaging in Homosexual activities, although it was never expressly prohibited for lay Buddhists. To strengthen their argument they further call attention to the basic Buddhist teaching on ‘non-harm’, where Buddhism expects that one shall not engage in sexual practices that may cause harm to others. Although Rape (sex without consent or against will), Adultery, (as it might cause pain in the mind for the spouse of the sex partner even with the consent of one’s sex partner) and Paedophilia (as it is practiced on children who are not mature enough to understand the gravity of the act) are considered as irreconcilable with this teaching being harmful to others, they claim that consensual sex activities between adults motivated by love, mutuality and desire to give and share and in privacy should be accepted as in step with Buddhism irrespectively whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. Moreover, giving as examples the Buddhist countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia where there are no laws against homosexuality between consenting adults, they point that Sri Lanka criminalizes homosexuality simply because it still hang on to the relics left behind by the colonial rulers. Their view is that Sri Lanka should change in par with the other countries of the world looking at homosexuals more humanely.

CHAPTER VI

CONCLUTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

CONCLUTION

1. Sri Lankan society considers homosexuality as something against the accepted social norms. However there are few organizations, in Sri Lanka fighting for the rights of LGBT and they claim that Sri Lanka criminalizes same sex sexual activities (Sec. 365a PC) contradicting international human rights standards. In addition, they claim to loosen Sri Lankan lows as per the some other western countries that are recognized civil unions and same sex marriages.

2. Further, there is a strong belief among the public that the purported Sri Lankan gays are not exclusively homosexuals. Although not illegal, Sri Lankan culture disapproves extramarital sex. Due to the community restrictions and social disgrace, unmarried heterosexual couples, especially the female partners of these couples, are scared to be seen spending time in privacy. However, persons of the same sex spending time together in secluded places do not arouse suspicion unless it becomes obvious to the world due to some other reasons that they live on as sexual partners. Humans are naturally believed to be sexual beings. So, when they are driven by the desire for sexual pleasure in situations when opposite sex partners are scarce, they would try to settle for an available substitute that can be utilized. In such a situation, even if the person is not purely a homosexual there is a possibility for him or her to settle for a partner of the same sex shortly. School hostels in all girl or all boy schools, military billets and Buddhist temples are few examples where persons of only one gender get to spend time in privacy and where homosexual sex activities are complained to occur frequently. Therefore, the majority Sri Lankan belief is that the persons engaging in homosexual activities in Sri Lanka are not necessarily exclusive homosexuals and that most of them could be heterosexuals who immorally choose to act so temporarily. Relaxing the penal laws to decriminalize homosexual activities, they fear, would promote these immoral acts and thereby affect the society to collapse.

3. It is obvious that it would be close to impossible for the efforts of the gay right activists in Sri Lanka to become fruitful in the near future. They will have to keep working until gradually the Sri Lankan ways of thinking is changed. Following the footpath of the neighboring Indians in appealing to the justice system might as well be helpful. Hence, a very rough and long journey could be seen before they reach their first destination, ‘de-penalization of homosexuality’. Achieving any other rights that were gained by the queers of the western world seems only a goal that looks far too remote to reach shortly.

RECOMMENDATIONS

2. Even though it looks a very remote possibility for the homosexuals to have the anti gay laws repealed not to mention achieving any rights due to the current way of thinking of the general society, efforts exercised by the neighboring Indians in appealing to the justice system might be helpful.

Annex A

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

1. The said Article states that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence and that there shall be no interference by a public authority with campaigner the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder of crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. [11] 

Annex B

Article 2(1) of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

1. Each state party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. [12] 

Annex C

Section 365A of the 1883 Penal Code

1. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall he guilty of an offence, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both and shall also be liable to be punished with whipping. [13] 

Annex D

Section 365A of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka as amended by Act No.22 of 1995

1. 365A. [14] Any person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts procure the commission by any person of, any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of age in respect of any person under sixteen years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and not exceeding twenty years and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for the injuries caused to such person.

Annex E

QUESTIONS ON HOMOSEXUALITY

1. Do you know what homosexuality is? If yes, please explain briefly.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

2. Are you aware of homosexual activities in Sri Lanka?

………………………………………………………………………………………………

3. Your genuine feeling about it.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

4. Do you know about the Sri Lankan laws on homosexual activities? If yes, what are they?

………………………………………………………………………………………………

5. Do you think if the laws should be changed? If yes, how? If no, why?

………………………………………………………………………………………………

6. Do you think Homosexuality should be de-penalized? Please explain your answer.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

7. What could be the result, if law is changed de-penalizing same-sex activities?

………………………………………………………………………………………………

8. Should the homosexuals be allowed to be open about their sexual orientation? Please explain your answer ………………………………………………………………………………………………

9. Should the laws be relaxed allowing homosexuals to legally register their unions? Please give reasons to your answer.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

10. Should the laws be relaxed allowing homosexuals to get married? Please give reasons to your answer.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

11. Does expanding civil marriage rights and duties to lesbian and gay couples fundamentally alter the goals and norms of marriage?

………………………………………………………………………………………………

12. Should the laws be relaxed allowing homosexuals to legally adopt children? Please give reasons to your answer.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

13. Should homosexual couples be allowed to adopt children of their own sex? Please give reasons to your answer.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

14. What would be the consequences?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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