There has been much brouhaha over an attempt to give legal recognition to those with different sexual orientations. Critics have accused some sections of the government of making surreptitious attempts to legalise homosexuality and lesbianism and so on.
These matters fall into the wide area usually referred to as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. The accusation is that moves to recognise these rights have come as a part of the so-called conditions imposed by the European Union for re-granting of the once withdrawn GSP Plus facilities for our exports.
It is not surprising that western countries often attempt to impose their cultural values upon the countries in the third world. The culture of any country is subject to change and as cultures change over decades what is not acceptable to the people at one point of time may become acceptable at some stage later. However, the western world has no right to impose their values on any other country particularly those in the third world when the people are not ready to accept them.
The other point is that so-called gay rights were officially accepted even in the liberal west not long ago. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to permit same-sex marriages. Since then it has spread into many countries in the Americas and Western Europe.
In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights which was followed up with a report from the UN Human Rights Commission documenting violations of the rights of LGBT people.
Following up on the report, the UNHRC urged all countries which had not yet done so to enact laws protecting basic LGBT rights.
On the other hand, in most parts of Asia and Africa gay rights have not been accepted while some thirty countries have passed expressed constitutional amendments banning a variety of same sex unions.
Societal attitudes towards homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality while others may disapprove of such activities in part.
There seems to be broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia.
The acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.
Research has found that age is also a factor in several countries, with younger respondents offering far more tolerant views than older ones.
In any country some ideas are not discussed openly because of cultural inhibitions, however as the number of people supporting that particular view increases the matter becomes a subject of public discussion. That is how ideas should progress in the democratic world and this theory should apply to acceptance of LBGT rights as well.
When such rights were recognized in the west they did not do so under the influence of any other external power. Therefore the democratic west should understand that these developments should take place in a similar manner in the poorer democracies as well.
No external power has a right to impose any value system upon a country when its people are not in a mood to accept it. Neither should our politicians be in an indecent hurry to implement such ideas when there is opposition from the majority of the people. There is no point in creating a new controversy when there are enough issues that truly deserve their attention.