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Homosexuality: a legal or moral problem?

Homosexuality: a legal or moral problem?

   Guoting Guo

   

   I Introduction

   Homosexuality is sexual orientation that depicts sexual desire or behavior with same sex, which cannot engage in penile-vaginal intercourse. It has many names as: sodomites, buggers, vile creatures, anti-physicals, pederasts, uranians, inverts, homosexuals and gay. Public usually consider these men to be “sinful, depraved, degenerate, sick or insane” (Reinisch 1990: 138; Higgs 1999:11). Homosexuality blossomed in cities from antiquity to the present. It said that many famous people were homosexuals, including Socrates, Plato, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats .Sodomy also was reported of the emperors Tiberius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Commodus, Trajan, and Elagabalus. Royal households were often to be hot houses of homosexual behaviors. In British, Eton and Harrow, in the 1970s revealed a strong homosexual undercurrent there has been in upper class education for a century. However, Aristotle believed pederasty to be depraved (Tannahill 1980; Paglia 1990;Higgs 1999).

   The Bible in Genesis 19: 12-13 told the story of Sodom that the God hate homosexual and order to eliminate whole city. Traditional view treats sodomites as abnormal, immoral, and evil crime according to the God's word. Homosexuality was largely considered taboo by the generally public, “popular feeling against it is very strong…on the whole people regard homosexuality as a revolting or incomprehensible form of behaviour”. In many countries homosexuality is still the subject of fierce and controversial societal debate (Jäckle & Wenzelburger 2014:24).

   Public opinion was overwhelmingly negative in the 1940s and 1950s but started to liberalize following the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967.Attitudes suffered a temporary setback with the advent of AIDS in the mid-1980s, but the thaw resumed from the early 1990s and accelerated. This trend toward liberalization has direct parallels in growing public support for several other facets of equality, notably gender, race, and religion. It also coincides with a significant decline in religious allegiance, Secularization has thus eased the pathways for more liberal views of homosexuals (Clement & Field 2014:523). In recent years, many political leaders have voiced support for letting gays and lesbians marry legally. In May 2012, President Obama declared that he supports same-sex marriage. Former President Clinton recently wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post urging the Supreme Court to overturn defense family law. And in a video released on March 18, 2013 former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced she supports same-sex marriage, both “personally and as a matter of policy and law” (Masci 2013).

   Many scholars, politicians, religious leaders claim homosexuals has nothing wrong, because they were innate and not changeable. My argument is that homosexuals are abnormal and immoral either in history or in reality, and I will from perspective of history, law and pathology three spheres to support my thesis.

   II Brief history of homosexuals

   Adolescent homosexuality is a common phenomenon, and Homosexuals existed in all civilization, from ancient time to current. In Ancient Greek pederasty are pure in theory but a good deal less so in practice. In 6 century BC, Solon had imposed the death penalty for any adult male found without authorization on the premises of a school. Any man who incited a free boy to offer his charms professionally was liable to be deprived of his civic rights for life, which proved that even in Greek sodomy was crime and immoral. In 15 century, Maya recognized adolescent homosexuality, until a boy was old enough to marry, usually is his parents to provide him with a male slave boy, to meet his needs (Tannahill1980: 100). In Ecuador, “despite the fact that there were many beautiful woman, they practiced the unspeakable sin of sodomy, committing it openly and publicly without fear of God or personal shame”(Tannahill 295). Homosexuality between consenting adults was sometimes fashionable in the Han and Song Dynasty in China. Renaissance originated in Florence, descend through Byzantine style from the Greek legacy, was initially a homosexual idea. The homosexual is still widely prescribed in New Guinea, where young men are expected to perform fellatio with other young men. One study of modern tribes made in 1952 showed that 2/3 of them considered adolescent homosexuality as normal and acceptable and other researchers have found it institutionalized among the Cubeo on the Amazon, and the Mohaves and Zuni, in North America (Tannahill1980; Paglia 1990; Stanway 354).

   In Western culture, homosexuality was out law from the middle Ages until 1960s. In 529 Justinian’s laws made male homosexual relations illegal for the first time in Roman history. Homosexual were prohibited in 342 after Christinaity became the emperors’ religion. All the previous emperors had simply taxed male prostitutes. Religious prohibition turned homosexuality into sin, sickness, and crime. Many society treated homosexuality as evil crime and punish them with death by burn buggers publicly. In 1513 the chiefs at Quarequa in Panama threw forty of homosexuals offenders to his dogs, because they are “the most abdominal and unnatural lechery”; while Aztec law included the death penalty for homosexuals. In Peru, anyone who committed sodomy was condemned to be “dragged and hanged, then burned with all his clothes”. Same penalty was applied to zoophiliacs. In Inca “ the sodomites 、、. be burned alive in the public square”. Cieza de Leon, a 16 century writers on the Incas, estimated that in the Chimu area 15 women were left to every one man after the Incas had exterminated all the sodomites there (Tannahill 1980). French has gone on burning homosexuals long after they had given up burning witches until 1725. Sodomy was a serious crime at the time and formal legal penalties was death by fire until 1791. In 18 century, 7 Parisian sodomites were burned at the stake (Higgs 1999:13). Recorded history of Paris homosexuality begins in the middle Ages. A clergyman lamented in the early 13 century that “ shameful and abominable vice” was rampant in the city. In the 1680s many of the highest nobles in the land allegedly belonged to a secret 'Italian brotherhood' of sodomites. By the 18 century, there is substantial evidence of a more widespread and more socially diverse “sodomitical subculture” in Paris among men whose sexual desires defined a collective identity and some historians would claim a distinct lifestyle (Higgs 1999:12). During 18 century the Dutch including Amsterdam was the largest persecutions of sodomy of the age with at least 800 men persecuted and 200 capital punishments. The first recorded burnings of sodomites in Netherlands took place at the end of the 13 century. The first recorded execution by fire for sodomy in Holland was in 1321( Higgs 1999:61).

    In British, 1828 a new Act which restated the principle that “every person convicted of the abominable Crime of Buggery committed either with Mankind or with any animal, shall suffer death as a Felon”.In 1850 had criminalized male homosexual practices in public and in private. In 1885 the Criminal Law Amendment Act provide “any male person who in public or private commits … by any male person of any act of gross indecency with another male person", was liable to up to two years imprisonment with hard labor(Clement & Field 2014: 524 ). Until the Sexual Offences Act of1967 decriminalized homosexual activities in private between consenting men over 21 years of age, did not create “the recognised status of homosexuality”. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 marks the culmination of a series of legal changes that have progressively removed inequalities for gay people in British.

   In the USA, the Supreme Court in 1996 struck down Colorado law prohibiting any kind of protected status based on sexual orientation. The most significant same-sex marriage ruling occurred in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that the state’s constitution granted gays and lesbians the right to marry. Massachusetts became the first state in the USA to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2003,the USA Supreme Court held that states may not criminalize sexual conduct between consenting adults of the same sex in private, so long as no money changes hands. In 2010, Congress repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that excluded openly gay men and lesbians from military service. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down key elements of the Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited any federal recognition of same-sex marriage(Murphy2014: 6).

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