Monday, February 27, 2006

Revised letter to the Guernsey Press

There has been a glut of coverage in the Press recently regarding the issue of the homosexual age of consent. It appears to me that many of your correspondents are missing the point and turning a political issue into a religious one.
Everyone has the right to express their views, but it is beyond me why certain correspondents should think that their religious views have any relevance to this debate. It is my understanding that the Church and the State were separated a long time ago and that is exactly as it should be.
I am also puzzled as to why your Christian correspondents are so concerned about this issue at all. The debate does not concern the legality of homosexuality; that matter was properly dealt with a long time ago. Bearing in mind that a Christian’s point of view is that all homosexual activity is “wrong”; I cannot see what difference a change in the age of consent makes to them.
In any case religion is, or should be, a personal belief with each individual having the right to choose for themselves. Politics and law however are matters for the public domain and it seems to me that the only political issue at stake here is equality. Would it be acceptable to say that women could learn to drive at 17 but men had to wait until 19? Or that those with brown eyes could drink in pubs at 18 but those with blue eyes not before reaching 20? Of course not!
We supposedly live in a democratic society where each individual regardless of race, creed or gender has the same rights and privileges as everyone else. By that same token, all laws should apply equally to each individual. The discrepancy between the ages of consent for homosexuals and heterosexuals is in direct violation of this simple premise; it implies that one section of the community is not equal to another.
Personally, I do not really care whether or not the age of consent for homosexuals is lowered, but one thing I am sure of is that it should be made the same as the age for heterosexuals. The choice, therefore, is simple: either lower the age for homosexual consent to 16, or raise the age for heterosexual consent to 18. The situation as it stands is unacceptable.



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