Thursday, July 2, 2009

India decriminalizes homosexuality, and some more

by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

Pride Month just ended, but New Delhi's highest court's decision to legalize gay sex is amazing news. The NYT has the full story, which you can read here - but briefly, homosexuality has been illegal in India since 1861, when "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" was criminalized by the British (dontcha just love colonialism?). The ruling will only affect India's capitol city of New Delhi, but it will force the national government either to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court or repeal the law entirely.

In the ruling, the judges wrote, “Discrimination is antithesis of equality...It is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual." Damn straight.

Also, if you're interested in the fruits of my desperate attempts to catch up with the news (and not do my reading) - here's a Bloggingheads video about the debate in France over banning the burqa. I think that the French are hijacking the language of women's rights to discriminate against a minority that refuses to completely assimilate into French culture, regardless of whether the veil is oppressive (and that's something that can be debated also), but it's an interesting conversation - what do you think?

And this just makes me thankful that I'm an ocean away from all this bullshit - Fox News is just the latest in a slew of news outlets who are referring to Maria Chapur (the woman with whom South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford had an affair) as Sanford's "mistress," a "beautiful brunette with big eyes" who was Sanford's "star-crossed lover." Now, I know what you're going to say - what am I expecting from Fox News? But I'm going to tear into it anyway. First of all, it's totally disrespectful to refer to Chapur as Sanford's "mistress," which implies that she was some kind of kept woman - when in fact, she was supporting herself and her two children. And really, what's the male equivalent of "mistress"? There isn't one, except "master," which does not imply what Sanford should really be called, which is more along the lines of "lying, cheating dirtbag." But no - he's the governor, and she's the mistress.

Yes, Ms. Chapur did not make a good decision when she got involved with a married man who is also a state governor. But Fox manages to at once disrespect her and glorify Sanford - saying that she's a hottie who speaks several languages and exercises constantly - I mean, what would you have done? I'd totally sacrifice my political career and humiliate my family for that kind of star-crossed love. This whole thing is a mess, and is being handled terribly by the U.S. media - there is no excuse for putting this woman's personal life on display and objectifying her while treating this like the greatest love story of Mark Sanford's life. I hope that Sanford drops quietly out of politics and tries to make this up to his family, and lets Ms. Chapur get back to piecing together her life.

Thanks to Charlie for the tip!


At July 2, 2009 at 3:32 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

I suspect there is something about being a very powerful person that tempts one to hubris, to the notion that one is entitled to do what one wants, to the deception that one can get away with what one wants -- the kind of hubris which, we know as humans, typically precedes a fall of some sort.

Still, seeing these adultery scandals pile one on top of another is not good for men, women, and society in general. There is a rising tide of female adultery, and male adultery does not appear to be on the wane, and is every bit as morally troubling. While I do think that male adultery tends to be easier, relatively, to get past in a marriage than female adultery is (due to the difference between the mistress-as supplement, on the one hand, and the paramour-as-replacement, on the other), nevertheless it is not easy to get past, it creates lasting issues of trust and intimacy, and presents a horrible example to children and young people about the nature of marriage, and what it means to be a husband and father.

I have no sympathy for these guys who cheat on their wives. They do it because they can, and because they think they can get away with it -- plain and simple. Of course, we have other talking heads who say that adultery should spark empathy for the adulterer -- what a lunacy that is. That particular adultery apologist says that we should not judge in these situations, and understand that relationships are complex.

Bullshit. There is nothing complex about not having sex with someone other than your spouse. In fact, that's very simple. It's one of the simplest rules relating to relationships that we have, precisely because it is so categorical. It's a very bright line rule, and always has been, and it precisely because it is a bright line rule that it justifiably engenders outrage. It simply is *not* complex, or complicated, to avoid having sex with people who are not your spouse. People who allow themselves to get enmeshed in "complicated situations" are simply making excuses for crossing what they and everyone else knows is a bright line. They deserve neither empathy nor sympathy.

At July 2, 2009 at 3:37 PM , Anonymous Naomi said...

Re: India: Sodomy and bestiality may be OK, but I assume Cows will retain their traditional protection from all forms of harassment :)


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