U.S. ruling on gay marriages unlikely to have any effect on Malaysia

    Same sex couples in the United States recently won their fight to be married in all 50 states after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled five to four on the matter.

    KUALA LUMPUR, June 28, 2015:

    Same sex couples in the United States recently won their fight to be married in all 50 states after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled five to four on the matter.

    Human rights activists as well as Malaysians had various reactions to the matter, a ruling some believe will never get any backing here in Malaysia.

    Seksualiti Merdeka founder Pang Khee Teik said although every milestone reached by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community should be celebrated, the precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court should not take away the limelight from the real battle of getting equal treatment for the community here.

    “Every human rights victory is a victory. I call upon all of us to remember the bigger goal to eliminate inequality at all levels and create a community of care where we are.”

    He, however, told The Rakyat Post that the same was still inconceivable in Malaysia, especially with the existence of laws which stipulated that same-sex relationships were illegal.

    Section 377 of the Malaysian Penal Code criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, or oral and anal sex. The Federal Constitution, which states that Islam is the country’s official religion, also forbids same-sex relationships.

    The same goes for other religions practised by the major percentage of the country’s population, such as Christianity, which also makes such relationships a sin.

    “We often mistake the Western agenda as our own, but our present realities and needs are different. Yet, same-sex marriage in the West is often used as a cautionary tale by the politicians here to warn Malaysians against it.

    “For some LGBTs in Malaysia, it’s hard to think about marriage when we’re busy trying not to get arrested, fired from our jobs, or having our parents find out about our sexuality and kicking us out,” said Pang.

    He added that at this point, the community would be happy to just be able to have a public conversation on the topic without being silenced or threatened with violence.

    Raymond Tai, the marketing and communications director of Pink Triangle Foundation (PT), which is a non-governmental organisation that provides HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and support programmes, said the LGBT group was  vulnerable to these diseases as they were not receiving the information necessary to protect themselves.

    He said that any form of discrimination increased the rate of infection as it affected the LGBT’s access to healthcare.

    “The U.S. court ruling has created awareness for the people all over the world including Malaysia.

    “If the country is serious about putting an end to HIV, one of the things it needs to do is to provide an environment that is less discriminatory.

    “I hope the breakthrough that is celebrated by everyone around the world will in Malaysia initiate a better, more accepting and more frank discussion about the issue of LGBT and HIV/AIDS.”

    SOURCE www.therakyatpost.com