Friday, December 02, 2005

A Libertarian View on Homosexuality from an Unexpected Source: Jamaica

Former Jamaican Attorney-General and Justice Minister, JLP's Ossie Harding has taken a progressive and aggressive position against anti-sodomy laws. Although the issue of homosexuality and gay rights is debated by the Jamaican public and in Jamaican culture, this is the first time I’ve seen a Jamaican politician take a serious stance on this issue. And it’s a progressive one, and it’s from the traditionally conservative JLP (Jamaica Labour Party). Essentially Harding argues for separation of religious morality and secular government. Proving you can be socially liberal and economically conservative/pro-capital (I was beginning to think this was a myth and that no politician is capable of speaking his own mind when contrary to popular opinion). To my mind this is an important and courageous stance.

Highlights from a Jamaica Observer
report on Harding's October 2004 Institute of Law and Economics speech on the subject:


“THE law has no business in the private bedrooms of consenting adults, such as homosexuals and prostitutes, former attorney-general and justice minister, Dr.
Oswald Harding is insisting.
...some things are just not the law's business. Harding remains unconvinced by the argument that the law should be used to enforce moral codes, and argued that the private activities of consenting homosexuals and prostitutes should not be criminalised.”

Also:

[Harding] further posited that the Wolfden Committee's report reflected those of noted philosopher John Stuart Mill in his Essay on Liberty to the effect that the function of the law "is to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is offensive or injurious, and to provide sufficient safeguards against exploitation or corruption of others, particularly those who are vulnerable because they are young, weak in body or mind or inexperienced".

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