An Australian judge has provoked controversy recently by claiming that incest may no longer considered taboo, and that sex between siblings is becoming socially acceptable just like homosexuality, according to the Telegraph.
Judge Garry Neilson, from one of the country’s district courts, reportedly said that just as homosexuality, which was criminalized in the past, has gained social acceptance, communities also may no longer view incest as “unnatural.”
“A jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men, and was now ‘available’, not having [a] sexual partner,” Neilson was quoted as saying.
He argued that the only reason incest has been considered a crime was because of the risk of genetic abnormalities in offspring, and that this is becoming increasingly irrelevant with access to contraception and abortion.
The judge made his comments during the trial of a man accused of raping his younger sister. The man pleaded guilty to having sexually assaulted his sister in the 1970s when she was ten or eleven years old, but pleaded not guilty to similar charges from when she was 18 and he was 26.
“By that stage, they are both mature adults,” Neilson said.
Neilson’s comments have been met with anger and disgust. The crown prosecutor Sally Dowling said that his words were misogynistic and “completely disgraceful.” She noted his reference to abortion was “particularly repellent.” Dowling has requested an appeals court appoint a new judge.
Adults Surviving Child Abuse president Cathy Kezelman told the Sydney Morning Herald that equating homosexuality to incest is “as ill-informed as it is outrageous.” She added that regardless of their ages, relations between siblings is “abhorrently criminal.”