Quickie: the double standard of privacy

So the UN has reinstated sexual orientation in its list of unacceptable reasons to kill someone. Goody. This BBC article contains a dissenting quote from Zimbabwe’s ambassador that I had trouble wrapping my head around:

“We will not have it foisted on us,” he said, according to Reuters. “We cannot accept this, especially if it entails accepting such practices as bestiality, paedophilia and those other practices many societies would find abhorrent in their value systems.

“In our view, what adult people do in their private capacity, by mutual consent, does not need agreement or rejection by governments, save where such practices are legally proscribed,” he added.

First of all, let me refer the ambassador to my previous post on slippery slopes. But it’s the last sentence that really weirds me out. Is he really saying that governments should not “agree” or “reject” the private actions of consenting adults, except when they outlaw them? Because “legally proscribing” sounds like pretty strong rejection. So really he’s just saying that governments shouldn’t agree.

People, you can’t have it both ways. I’ve heard a similar argument referring to anti-bullying efforts in schools. On the one hand, someone’s sexuality is their private business, and governments shouldn’t have anything to do with it. (This is the argument when the government wants to do something like protect gay people from cruelty and violence). On the other hand, gay people are suspect and dangerous and destabilizing to society, and governments shouldn’t let them serve publicly. (This is the argument when we’re talking about gay people serving in the military, or teaching in public schools.)

All this rhetoric is for is to mask the speaker’s real position, which is that homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord, or whatever. They usurp the “privacy” claim when it suits them, and then snap back to their real position when it doesn’t.

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