Alan Turing, the Church, and the UN call to decriminalize homosexuality
This post follows-up on the June 25 post’s recognition of Alan Turing’s birthday. Turing is rightly considered the father of computer science and by many standards is a British national hero for his work during World War II. He also was a homosexual and a victim of Britain’s criminalization of his orientation. Read the post above and his Wikipedia entry for his full biography.
France is leading the European Union’s move to put forward a UN call to decriminalize homosexuality universally. Earlier this month, the UN called upon India specifically to decriminalize and the EU would rightly like this call to become universal.
This effort has been long in the works. Groups like IDAHO developed a petition in 2006 and other local groups have offered support. The Vatican seems to confuse decriminalization with legalization of same-sex unions. Many conservative Anglicans have been unwilling to speak up for decriminalization, especially as their de facto leader Archbishop Peter Akinola supports the Nigerian anti-sodomy laws. Mainstream Canadian bishops spoke out against Nigeria’s laws in 2006.
The UN call to India to decriminalize would make room for HIV treatment services. From the article above, India’s anti-sodomy laws were instituted during the British Raj, making them broadly the same laws that lead to the death of Alan Turing.
For the sake of computer science, homosexuality needs to be decriminalized. The laws that killed Alan Turing and would lock up Tom Jennings send the clear signal that the world wants not brilliant people to revolutionize our science and technology. Following decriminalization, technology powerhouses like China, Brazil and perhaps India can only benefit and we benefit by extension.
To keep homosexuality criminalized is self-destructive.