Gay Rights Movement Faces Judicial Setbacks In Australia and India

800px-Flag_of_Australia_(converted).svgIndia flag125px-flag_of_russiasvgGay rights advocates faced a tough week with rulings from the high courts in Australia and India — both reaffirming bans on same-sex marriage. While the trend is happily moving in the opposite direction, the campaign for marriage equality faced two setbacks in these rulings. In Australia, the decision to allow same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was struck down as exceeding the authority of the territory. In India, a long-standing criminalization of homosexuality was reinstated. Adding to this disappointing week is the national address given by Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirming the opposition to gay rights by his government as a stand for moral leadership.

The ACT parliament passed a bill in October legalizing same-sex weddings. However, the move was challenged by the national government which argued that such questions had to be answered by the national government, not regional governments. Moreover, in September 2012, the parliament voted down such a change. Accordingly, the national law limits marriage to the union of a man and a women under a law passed in 2004.

The situation was worse in India where the Supreme Court struck down a 2009 lower court ruling decriminalizing homosexual conduct. The court ruled that such questions could only be answered by the legislature. This left in place a colonial era law that makes homosexual relations a crime subject to a ten-year prison term. The law from the 1860s is actually a British import and states that “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” can be punished by up to 10 years behind bars. The New Delhi High Court had struck down the law and now stands reversed. Hindu and Muslim (as well as Christian) groups united in seeking the reversal. It appears that a mutual prejudice against homosexuals produced a rare moment of unity among the religious groups.

Then there is Russia. In a move that no doubt strengthened his ties to the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, Putin used his annual state of the nation address to present Russia as the moral leader of the world, specifically targeting gay rights as his proof of such leadership.

Putin denounced the “review of norms of morality” in the West and said that “the destruction of traditional values from above not only entails negative consequences for society, but is also inherently anti-democratic because it is based on an abstract notion and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.” He presented such rights as destroying any distinction between “good and evil” and struck out at “so-called tolerance – genderless and infertile.” Of course, many believe that Putin does bring clarity on the question of “good and evil” but clearly disagree on which value he personifies after years of suppressing the media, free speech, and civil liberties.

All in all, not a great week for gay rights.

38 thoughts on “Gay Rights Movement Faces Judicial Setbacks In Australia and India”

  1. A follow-up to my posting above: Tonight Rachel Maddow was talking about the US delegations to the Sochi Olympics. No high level government representatives (the Ambassador to Russia will be there of course). It will be led by Janet Napolitano who is no longer a government employee and of the 5 athletes picked to go two are openly gay. No President, First Lady, and no Vice President.


    1. [sigh] Yet another clear example of politically motivated reverse discrimination. The delegation is skewed toward favoring a sexual minority, but hopefully their tolerance toward other cultures with differing sexual standards will lead them to respect the Russian law and refrain from proselytizing children into their brand of sexuality. They should allow the children to focus on sports, not sex.

  2. David:

    You are right about some ages of majority being lowered to eighteen, et al. However it has been often the case for purposes of practicality as well as sufferage, the legal voting age being twenty one and now eighteen, being such an example.

    As to your question about my feelings on the gay rights issue I have two beliefs on this. The first being on a constitutional grounds and the other on an individual civil rights issue. Sometimes the constitution, as interpreted through the courts renders opinions that many don’t agree with but nevertheless they are bound to it.

    Here are a couple examples that I can bring to attention.

    The first was when I was a cop, in the couple years or so employed as such, the Arizona v. Gant decision came out. One aspect of this was that officers could search a vehicle if it was incident to a lawful arrest and the officer was looking for evidence of the crime for which he / she was arrested without a search warrant but officers could not search for essentially anything else if the arrestee was taken from the vehicle and secured. Washington’s Supreme Court took it a step further and stated under Article 1 Section 7 of the state constitution that for practical purposes there could be no search for even evidence of the crime unless the suspect was in the car, arrested, and then while the suspect was still sitting in the driver’s seat; which was a huge officer safety risk. I completely disagreed with the state court’s interpretation at that time but nevertheless I had to follow it.

    The second example was that at the time (it might have changed as I haven’t been in the information loop) if a suspect was talking to a paramedic and the officer heard the conversation, such as after a DUI crash where the suspect stated he drank half a case of beer, that the conversation was admissable in court. I disagreed with this because I regard that as a Doctor Patient priviledged conversation since the paramedic is an agent of the attending physician in the emergency department for which the suspect will be taken. So if I heard something in this context I did not put it in my report or use any evidence I heard that might lead me to probable cause to arrest.

    So was I right in the second example? Rhetorically maybe not but it brings up the issue of whether citizens or gov’t agents can disregard the constitution and expect not to be bound by it.

    As to what you wrote in your last paragraph from your point of view I can understand why you might object to what I suspect you might believe as, for lack of better words what you might believe is an “in your face” type of approach they might partake in because it offends your morals. But from a practical standpoint how are they otherwise going to be able to further their cause unless they show some kind of public advocacy of this? They are not going to get anywhere with their cause by sitting at home, waiting for it to happen. I guess it is inherent in any issue where the public is appealing to the politicians to change the law by getting notice and convincing the pols of the votes and unfortunately the money to be achieved by agreeing with these causes and enacting legislation. If they only used own devices to secure legislation they would likely fail; unless they were very wealthy and connected. But, if they or anyone else were to convince members of the general public their cause was worth advocating, or if they publically show sympathy, the pols would take notice for the same reasons and change the law. It happens with many issues that is.

    1. Darren –

      I don’t think you understand where I am coming from. I’m not a prude. I don’t advocate for anti-sodomy laws, and I would be supportive of making currently illegal sexual activity like prostitution legal. I think the solution is in regulation of sexually destructive behaviors rather than criminalization. I also support same sex partnerships being treated as a contractual relationship between parties rather than as marriage. From my perspective, marriage is unique in the creation of familial relationships through a sexual relation. The lack of gender diversity and natural reproductive consequences of same sex relationships make these unions uniquely different from a biologically scientific viewpoint.

      As for advocacy, I fully support the right of homosexuals to advocate for their causes, but from my perspective their advocacy is dishonest. It is a propaganda machine meant to stifle intellectual dialogue about their sexual behavior. They have completely changed the definition of words over time so that nobody is able to have a real conversation. For example, the word gay no longer means lighthearted and carefree, the word marriage no longer means an opposite sex relation including a commitment to the raising of children that results from that sexual relationship, and even the word homosexual no longer means same sex behavior. By re-framing the dialogue to be about feelings, which were never made illegal under any law, but at the same time dishonestly talking about it as something that was criminalized in the past, they have deceived a lot of people. They have caused many to ignore the natural biological distinction that naturally exists between same sex behavior and opposite sex behavior. Then when anyone attempts to discuss the issue, they are bombarded with hate speech and prejudice. How dare anyone possibly even consider that there might be something dangerous about same sex behavior! What a homophobe! In the end, free speech is stifled and logic takes a back seat to the emotions and prejudice raging against anyone who would advocate for the traditional concept of marriage.

  3. DavidM,
    You keep going on about the “gay rights agenda.” I am old enough to have heard the same exact arguments about the “Negro rights agenda.” In the same words. Most of the time, of course, the speaker did not bother to use the more polite word, “Negro.”

    Of course, everyone knew the civilized world as we knew it would come to an end if those colored people got to sit in restaurants with white people, and even use the same drinking fountain and restrooms. Or miscegenate and get married. Oh, the horror!

    The. Same. Exact. Words.

  4. David:

    It is a matter of statute. The law views young children as being incapable of giving consent for sexual activity with adults due to their immaturity and positions within society. One could argue that children begin sexual development and in regard to our species a fourteen year old girl could bear a child, but humanity is such that unlike 50,000 years ago when a 14 year old would be capable of raising a child, the same does not hold true today because it has been clearly proven that having a child at 14 places a burden on the mother that significantly constrains her and ultimately the child; therefore society has decided to enact these laws. Of course this becomes more gray as the child approaches adulthood and some could argue even into early adulthood.

    A similar analogue could be said about contract law. I don’t recall the name for this but minors, at least in my state, cannot be fully bound to a legal contract. They can sign for it, but the minor can void the contract if he or she wishes. This practice was established to protect the minor from exploitation due to their lack of experience in these matters as being a result of their age.

    1. Darren Smith wrote: “It is a matter of statute. The law views young children as being incapable of giving consent for sexual activity with adults due to their immaturity and positions within society.”

      I understand that, but what is your opinion about the current status of the law in this regard. When our country was founded, the age of adulthood was generally considered to be 21. It has been lowered to 18. For a driver’s license, the age is lower, and many States have made sexual consent lower as well. Some people in this country believe that the age of sexual consent should be lowered to 12 or even lower than that, as illustrated in the articles that I shared. I’m just trying to understand how you think about this subject across the board. Do you just embrace the gay rights movement because it is the popular thing to do, or do you have sound logical reasons for embracing it? How does your reasoning apply to other types of sexual activity that were once considered taboo? Embracing an equality argument for sodomy easily transfers to polygamy and pedophilia.

      The gay rights agenda is about changing societal understanding of sexuality and also about changing statutes that make the kind of behavior they want to engage in easier. The same holds for those desiring polygamous marriages, or sexual relations with minors, etc. Many of the arguments used for gay rights logically apply to these other areas, as Professor Turley’s case “Brown et al. v. Buhman” points out. Do you recognize this?

  5. Since this thread was initially an examination of reversals on the gay rights front I keep coming back to a pretty basic question: where is the line that can’t be crossed before a venue like the Olympics becomes the place to demonstrate national disdain?

    Prior to the Olympics in China I read often about the use of political prisoners (primarily the Falun Gong) being used as involuntary organ donors. This on top f the general, ongoing oppression of Falun Gong and other dissident Chinese. The prisoners were/are? blood and tissue typed when they were taken into custody and as orders came in for various organs, compatible prisoners were killed and their organs harvested on the spot in mobile surgical vans. It was big business and as insane and contrary to believability as it seems those stories were true. How many died and disappeared is not even known. While the Chinese government does not admit that this was the case they have started reforms to insure that their trade in organs is all legal and proper.

    So I was one of those folks saying we should not attend the Chinese Olympics. How could we? Surely that was a line that once crossed could not go unpunished by world-wide disdain.

    So I wonder about Russia. If Russia had made similar claims about its Jewish citizens as its gay citizens and police stood by as Jews were assaulted in the streets would there be any contemplation of a US boycott? What would Russia or any country have to do before the US specifically considers a boycott or other public protest -like the US athletes marching under a rainbow flag during the opening ceremony -would be appropriate.

    It just seems to me that the timing of this new initiative in Russia is constructed to be a very public ‘F*** You’ to the international community. It makes me wonder what, if anything, might be next; is this a test?

    1. lottakatz wrote: “What would Russia or any country have to do before the US specifically considers a boycott or other public protest -like the US athletes marching under a rainbow flag during the opening ceremony…”

      Seriously? Because Russia does not want Olympians recruiting children into the homosexual lifestyle in the Olympics you want to protest?

      Your comments only reinforce Putin as being right, that the West has lost its moral compass and Russia has become a new global leader in morality. They already went down the totalitarian societal control path we are heading down now, but they were forced to alter course because of the economic and social destruction caused by it.

      And Putin makes a very interesting point, that when it comes to homosexuality, they follow democracy while we follow a fascist style oligarchy in order to achieve the aims of the equality movement.

  6. Swarthmoremom, Take heart, there is always hope. Maybe the states won’t act but, as Eleazer contemplates, there is the possibility of action at a higher level. I would say it’s an inevitability, the issue is not going away.

  7. David: “lottakatz, comments like yours are why men of yon did not allow women to vote or engage in government and political discourse. Not without coincidence, such also is related to feminism and effeminate men and hence the topic of the spurious gay rights movement.”

    LOL, yeah, uppity women with good pattern recognition that just can’t keep their mouths shut are to blame for the entire historical abuse of women (regarding autonomy and rights) by patriarchy and misogyny. As well, we magically cause otherwise manly men to be effeminate and spur fallacy-based rights movements. Really David, you give me (us) too much credit. Which is another way of saying ‘blame-the-victim’ is always a bad way to refute a statement.

    But I do believe that your statement reflects exactly your beliefs. Follow that line of thought down the time-hole far enough and it was the flawed African spirit that invited their slavery, the flawed Jewish spirit that invited Pharaoh’s subjugation of their tribes and the flawed nature of the America’s indigenous peoples that fostered their own near-genocide.

    It didn’t clarify your position though or refute the observation that you take a great deal of interest in threads that at least start off discussing gay rights/marriage equality and that your arguments (which normally hijack a thread) are religion founded: purpose-driven sex is the norm and thus anything beyond that is harmful. That idea and its permutations are religion based and have no support in science. In that all of your arguments flow from this foundation, all of your arguments are religion based.

    BTW, how do you feel about plural marriages? There’s a new thread on that. One husband w/ more than one wife or one wife w/ more than one husband, what’s your take on that? Plural wives is a benefit of Old Testament patriarchy as I recall, as long as the women are submissive.

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