Jamaica: Why The Buggery Law Should Be Repealed op-ed

One day, several years ago, while taking my daughter home from school, she asked me a very interesting question: “Daddy, regarding the buggery law, if two men are caught having sex, the punishment is to lock them up with other men. Does that make sense to you?” I laughed because I had never looked at it that way before, then thought about it, and answered “No”.

The buggery law is being discussed a lot these days. I have always thought that it was an unfair law, and after dispassionately scrutinizing the arguments on both sides of the debate, I still see no valid reason for its existence.

There are genuine concerns regarding anal sex. The anus, unlike the vagina, and the mouth, is a tighter orifice, is not self-lubricating and its lining is not designed to withstand wear and tear. For this reason, the anus is more likely to be traumatized during intercourse, facilitating the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

But this does not mean that there ought to be a law against it. Penile-vaginal intercourse is responsible for most of the STIs in our country. Jamaica has a high rate of cervical cancer, and this too is as a result of penile-vaginal intercourse. The number of people who die as a result of tobacco and alcohol every year number over three times the population of our country, and not only are these products legal, but companies that produce them are listed on our stock exchange. So, concern about health does not appear to be a rational reason to maintain the law.

Many religious folk believe that anal sex is wrong, as is homosexuality which, in the case of men, is associated with anal sex. I do understand their beliefs and their concerns. But just because one considers something to be wrong, does not mean that others who do not subscribe to that view, and are not interfering with the lives of others, should be punished. The argument regarding “immorality” reeks of hypocrisy. The Bible speaks repeatedly against adultery and fornication. Adultery is mentioned in the Ten Commandments, and Jesus spoke about it as well. Interestingly, neither anal sex nor homosexuality is mentioned in the commandments or by Christ. But adultery is not illegal, even though there are many instances of it contributing to STI transmission and family disruption. On the other hand, two men can be in a monogamous relationship, and be arrested for engaging in an act of intimacy. Read more via The Gleaner