JAMAICA: Top Paper Denounces “Buggery” Law

Several days ago a Jamaican activist filed a lawsuit which seeks to overturn his country’s colonial-era criminalization of homosexuality. Today Jamaica’s most-read newspaper endorsed his attempt. From their editorial:

Hopefully, Maurice Tomlinson has greater insulation than was available to Javed Jaghai, so as to allow him to sustain, to the final tier of the court system, if necessary, his constitutional challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy, or buggery, laws.

For we, like Mr Tomlinson and many other rational Jamaicans, know instinctively that not only are those laws offensive to the universal principles of individual rights and freedoms, but they are probably contrary to guarantees afforded by Jamaica’s Constitution.

In this atmosphere of intimidation, it is not unexpected that homosexual males, but for those pushed to psychological disturbance or exhibitionism, are driven underground, fearful of accessing services such as health care, lest they have to reveal their status. Little wonder that Jamaica has among the hemisphere’s highest rates of HIV-AIDS among men who have sex with men. So, there is a public-health problem that is exacerbated by this silly old law.

Further, as we often argue, this newspaper sees no logic to the Jamaican State setting itself up as a kind of voyeuristic commissar of sexual practices. It certainly has no right in people’s bedrooms to determine the acts in which they engage, whatever the gender or status of the participants.

Gay Star News notes that today’s editorial comes one day after anti-gay activists rallied in Kingston to keep the law.