05 April 2009

Relative acceptance

Do you think legal gay marriage is a radical step? Romania is considering decriminalizing incest between consenting adults.

Before recoiling in horror, consider this: much of the reason the word "incest" evokes disgust is that it is associated with sexual abuse of children. There has also been the recent Josef Fritzl case in Austria, which involved the enslavement and rape of an adult. But the evil inherent in such acts lies in the abuse of the immature or the unconsenting; child molestation and rape are intolerable regardless of whether the parties involved are biologically related or not. There is no real reason to object to sexual activity between consenting adults who happen to be related.

Homosexuality, too, was once stigmatized by association with child molestation. Most people now recognize that homosexuality between consenting adults is a phenomenon unrelated to child abuse and should not be prohibited.

Some will point to the risk of genetic defects in offspring. Leaving aside the question of how large that risk actually is, there are ways to prevent sex from leading to conception, and the law does not prohibit sex (or even reproduction) in other cases of people who could transmit gene-linked medical problems to their children.

The question isn't whether you find the thought repulsive (I do), but whether you believe people should be punished by law for it. In a free society, the presumption should always be that a given form of behavior should be allowed unless there is a clear reason to prohibit it; the burden of proof must always be on those who seek to forbid.

I see no legitimate reason to outlaw any form of sexual behavior provided both parties are adults and freely consenting. Not if they are unmarried, or if they are of the same gender, or if one is considerably older than the other, or if one is paying the other, or even if they are related. It's their own business, no one else's.

As an aside, while the origin of the incest taboo is a much-debated question, it's very unlikely to be instinctive or "simply natural" as most people probably assume. There is no clear evidence of the incest taboo existing in any species other than our own.

Still not convinced? According to the linked article, consenting-adult incest has already been legal in France, Spain, and Portugal for decades. The sky has not fallen.

Like homosexuality, this will always be a minority taste, repulsive to many, perhaps to most. That does not make it wrong.


Blogger VNTuongLai said...

You’re invited to view my latest video “Sex Slavery & Murder.”


14 April, 2009 17:48  

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