Monday, June 23, 2014

Slippery Slope Fallacy

What is this webpage intended to demonstrate?

In stark contrast to claims that tolerance of homosexuality will lead to acceptance of polygamy, incest and sex with minors, these practises derive greatest support from the most anti-gay countries and the least from the more egalitarian nations.

The table immediately below the "Contents" section is the centrepiece of this post, which reveals a number of key differences between countries where same-sex (SS) marriage is legal and those where consensual SS sexual activity is severely punished. Please click on the table to enlarge it.


                 - FGM
                 - Gender Equality
                 - Marriageable Age
                 - Consanguineous Marriages
                 - Bestiality/Zoophilia
                 - Summary
                 - Yemen
                 - Saudi Arabia
                 - Iran
                 - Mauritania
                 - Nigeria
                 - Sudan
                 - Brunei
                 - Qatar
                 - UAE
                 - Egypt
                 - Uganda

The image below features two tables.
The top one consists of countries that prescribe the harshest penalties for consensual SS relationships, along with various other statistics for each country, which represent the nation's acceptance of the aforementioned slippery slope characteristics.

The table immediately below it displays the same statistics for a selection of the countries which have legalised SS marriage. Please click the image to enlarge.

-- = Unknown (no data is available).
## = See corresponding country-specific sections.
Incarc. = Incarceration.

SS Activity Punishment = The maximum punishment for mutually consensual same-sex sexual activity.
Marriageable Age = Age at which marriage can legally occur.
% Married by ages 15/18 = Percentage of women married by the ages of 15 and 18 respectively.
% Married by 19 = Percentage of women who married between the ages of 15-19.
FGM (%) = The percentage of women who have been subjected to (female) genital mutilation.
Gender Equality Global Rank = This is a rank out of 136 countries, with 1 being the country with the greatest equal opportunity for men and women and 136 (Yemen) being the country with the most inequality.
Consanguineous marriages % = The percentage of all marriages which are consanguineous. Most consanguinity tends to be between first cousins, such as in Yemen, where 70-80% of consanguineous marriages are.

Tadmouri et al. 2009, Reproductive Health, 6:17:
"Consanguineous marriage refers to unions contracted between biologically-related individuals. In clinical genetics, a consanguineous marriage means union between couples who are related as second cousins or closer".

Topics raised in this general introduction are variably elaborated upon in the country-specific sections below. Many of the anti-gay countries effectively torture LGBT people, whether directly via law, or indirectly, through allowing mobs and vigilantes to attack LGBT people with impunity. Death sentences additionally often involve stoning, a slow and barbaric method of murdering people.

In many of these nations, it is illegal or unsafe to even discuss homosexuality in anything other than a condemnatory way. This is in direct opposition to the principles of freedom of expression and consequently to the possibility of any form of cultural progression, on any issue.


FGM is the physical and sexual assault and maiming of young girls. Typically this is forced upon them when they are pre-teens. It therefore forms another indicator of how readily a country abuses and mistreats its more vulnerable individuals and seeks to control their sexuality.

Data indicates that FGM is extremely common in several of the anti-gay countries. It occurs but with an unknown prevalence in others, such as UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Painkillers are very rarely involved in this excruciating and life-threatening process.

In contrast, FGM is unheard of among natives of the countries where SS marriage is legal and is illegal in all such countries listed above.


The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, is designed to measure gender equality within nations and rank them, with the lowest ranked country (1) being the one that features the most equal opportunity for men and women. All "pro-gay" countries listed above are within the top 30 of the of the 136 countries ranked, except France. In contrast, all anti-gay countries listed are in the bottom 30 for gender equality except for Brunei (88) and Uganda (46).


Age of consent to marriage is 18 in some of the anti-gay countries largely due to international pressure from countries such as those where SS marriage is legal. As tabulated, even in those anti-gay countries with an age limit of 18, such as Uganda and Mauritania, 30-40% of girls are still married by the age of 18, many much younger. Child marriages often involve young girls being effectively sold to much older men by their families.

UN Population Fund, 2012, Marrying Too Young, End Child Marriage, ISBN-10: 1618000144
"The minimum legal age for marriage without parental consent is 18 years in most countries. Families and girls themselves may simply not know that laws against child marriage exist, and enforcement of such laws is often lax. Laws also vary widely, and exceptions are made on different grounds, most commonly when parents or other authorities, such as a judge or community elder, grant their consent."

Child Marriage
The below image demonstrates the striking correlation between global child-marriage prevalence and the criminalisation of same-sex relationships. The child-marriage image is from UNICEF in 2007 and has been updated by colouring four countries in green.


Tadmouri et al. 2009, Reproductive Health, 6:17:
"Many Arab countries display some of the highest rates of consanguineous marriages in the world, and specifically first cousin marriages which may reach 25-30% of all marriages. In some countries like Qatar, Yemen, and UAE, consanguinity rates are increasing in the current generation."


Proponents of slippery slope fallacies may additionally posit that acceptance of bestiality/zoophilia will result from SS marriage. As can be seen below, google searches for a key related term reveal that in all countries where zoophilia derives greatest interest, SS marriages are not legal.

Indonesia has various provincial laws, with some criminalising SS relationships with up to 100 lashes and 100 months in prison. Malaysia prescribes 20 years incarceration for SS relationships, while India, Pakistan and Bangladesh feature penalties ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment. Nigeria is on the list of most anti-gay countries.


In the anti-gay nations tabulated, polygamy is legally practised, child marriage and therefore sex is relatively commonplace, a very high percentage of marriages are consanguineous and FGM is widely practised in many. The opposite is true of the nations where SS marriage is legal. There therefore seems to be an inverse correlation between tolerance of homosexuality and tolerance for the practices cited by users of heterosexist slippery slope fallacies.

  • The death penalty is issued under Yemen's Sharia.

  • Under Sharia, sodomy is punishable by death by stoning.
  • Torture and chemical castration are also reported to have been used on suspected homosexuals.
  • FGM is known to occur in Saudi Arabia but at unknown rates.


Justice for Iran, 2013, "Early and Forced Marriages in the Islamic Republic of Iran", A Brief Submitted to the OHCHR for WRGS:
"According to the Islamic Republic civil code, the legal age of marriage in Iran is set at 13 for girls and 15 for boys. However, the same Act allows girls below 13 and boys below 15 to be wed but conditioned on the consent of their father and the permission of a court judge. In addition, there are troubling reports that Iranian parliament's legal affairs committee is pushing to lower the legal age of marriage for girls back to 9 years of age." "According to recent data released by Iran's Association of Children's Rights, 449 girls were married in 2009 before reaching the age of 10 and as many as 716 girls were married under the age of 10 in 2010".

FGM Prevalence is varied across Iran and little data is available on it, though one of the few studies on it found a prevalence of 55% (see "Sources" section).

  • Article 308 of the 1983 Criminal Code mandates death by public stoning for same-sex sexual activity.
  • Child marriage however is commonplace.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2013:
"By law, marriage in Mauritania requires the free consent of both parties, and the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years for both men and women.  But the law is not respected."

  • Sharia, practised in most Northern states of Nigeria, punishes same-sex sexual activity with death.
  • Section 284 of the Northern States' Federal Provisions Act imposes 14 year prison sentences and a fine on those who engage in same-sex sex acts.
  • The southern states, Chapter 21, Section 214 also punishes same-sex sexual activity with 14 years imprisonment.

UNFPA Nigeria:
"Nigeria, particularly northern Nigeria has some of the highest rates of early marriage in the world. The Child Rights Act, passed in 2003, raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 for girls. However, federal law may be implemented differently at the state level, and to date, only a few of the country’s 36 states have begun developing provisions to execute the law."

Chika Oduah, 2013, AlJazeera:
"The girls in the programme are usually married by fourteen".
"More than a dozen of Nigeria’s 36 states have not enacted the 2003 Child Rights Act, which states 18 as the minimum age for betrothal and marriage."

  • The 1991 Article 148 requires that those convicted of sodomy be punished with 100 lashes and 5 years imprisonment for the first 2 offences and then with death or life imprisonment for a third offence.

  • As of April 2014, those found guilty of same-sex sexual activity are to be stoned to death.
  • Consanguinity statistics are unavailable for Brunei but the current Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, married his cousin Pengiran Anak Saleha.
  • His father, Omar Ali Saifuddien III, who was the former Sultan of Brunei also married his own cousin, Pengiran Anak Damit, indicating that it is likely prevalent within the country.

  • Under Sharia, homosexual activity is punishable by death.
  • Article 296 of the current Penal Code mandates imprisonment for 1-3 years for sodomy.

  • Article 354 "Whoever commits rape on a female or sodomy with a male shall be punished by death."
  • Victims of rape are additionally punished for extramarital sex.
  • Article 80 of the Dubai Penal Code punishes sodomy with up to 14 years imprisonment.
  • Article 177 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code punishes such acts with up to ten years imprisonment.
  • The government has also attempted forced experimental hormone therapy on suspected homosexuals.
  • The UAE has made the greatest progress on child marriage in the world. The most recent data on child marriage in UAE indicate that it is still substantially more abundant than in the more egalitarian nations however.

Sean McCormack, U.S. Department of State, November 28, 2005:
"The United States condemns the arrest of a dozen same-sex couples in the United Arab Emirates and a statement by the Interior Ministry spokesman that they will be subjected to government-ordered hormone and psychological treatment."

Hoda Rashad et al. "Marriage in the Arab World", Population Reference Bureau, 2005:
"In the United Arab Emirates... the percentage of women ages 15 to 19 who were married dropped from 57 percent in 1975 to 8 percent by 1995."

FGM is known to occur in UAE, with one survey suggesting a prevalence of 34%, though unusually, private medical clinics mutilate children, rather than Aunty Abidah with her rusty kitchen knife.

  • In 2004, a seventeen years old private university student received a 17 year prison sentence, including 2 years hard labor, for posting a personal profile on a gay dating site.
  • The Student was arrested outside the American University in Midan Al Tahrir (Liberation Plaza) in Cairo and accused of “offences” to the public good and the honour of society.
  • The sentence was issued by the Jahah court in Cairo by A’laa Deen Shoja’a.

Innocenti Research Centre, ‘Early Marriage: Child spouses’, Innocenti Digest, No. 7, UNICEF IRC, Florence, 2001:
"In a number of countries, averages may again disguise major disparities. A Ministry of Health field study in Upper (southern) Egypt in the late 1980s discovered that 44 per cent of rural women married in the previous five years had been under the legal age of 16 at the time."
  • The changing of Egypt's age of consent to marriage to 18 in 2008 resulted from international pressure, rather than internal progress. It had little effect as under-age marriages simply aren't officially registered.
  • There has since been legislation drafted to change age of consent to marriage to 13 or 14 for girls.
Tracy McVeigh, The Observer, 30 March 2013:
"When Mubarak listened to international pressure and raised the age to 18 it changed nothing here."
"Child marriage is common, the norm among the poor. Doctors are bribed to sign documents asserting a 14-year-old is 18 but most people don't have the money so marriages go ahead without registration."

Jane Labous, Plan International, 2012:
"An Egyptian MP has confirmed the drafting of a new law to lower the permitted age for girls to marry to just 14 from the current age 18."

A study on the general population of women revealed that sexual harassment is ubiquitous in Egypt, indicating that conservatism is more likely an accelerant than a defence against sexual debauchery. Bouthaina El Deeb, 2013, Study on Ways and Methods to Eliminate Sexual Harassment in Egypt, UN Women Ed:
"99.3% replied that they have been subjected to one form or another of harassment... 91.5% said that part of their bodies were touched."

  • The death penalty was only dropped from Ugandan anti-gay legislation known as the "kill the gays" bill following strong international pressure.
  • LGBT people may still be beaten and murdered by mobs, often with impunity.
Rubin et al. 2009, USAID, Health Policy Initiative, Addressing Early Marriage in Uganda:
"Early marriage is common in Uganda. In 2006, more than half (53%) of women ages 20–49 were married before the age of 18, which is the legal age of marriage for women in Uganda."


All consanguinuity statistics are, unless stated otherwise, from Tadmouri et al. 2009, Reproductive Health, 6:17, DOI: 10.1186/1742-4755-6-17. Where more than one statistic for consanguinity has been obtained, the mean (average) of those values is shown in the table.

Saadat et al. 2004, Annals of Human Biology, 31(2), 263-269

Scott-Emuakpor AB. 1974, American Journal of Human Genetics, 26(6), 674-682

Freire-Maia, 1968, Eugenics Quarterly, 15(1), 22-33, DOI: 10.1080/19485565.1968.9987749

Bundey et al. 1990, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 44, 130-135

Romanus, 1953, Acta Genetica et Statistica Medica, 4(2-3), 266-273, DOI: 10.1159/000150749

Stevenson et al. 1966, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 34 supplement, 1-125

Twiesselmann et al. 1962, Population, 17(2), 241-266

Freire-Maia, 1957, Eugenics Quarterly, 4(3), 127-138, DOI: 10.1080/19485565.1957.9987319

Sutter & Goux, 1964, Population, 17(4), 683-702

Stoltenberg et al. 1999, American Journal of Public Health , 89(4), 517-523, DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.89.4.517


Source: UNICEF State of the World's Children, 2013 - Table 9 - Child Protection.
Data Origin: Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and other national surveys.
- Data is on women aged 20-24 obtained between 2002-2011.


Source: UNICEF State of the World's Children, 2013 - Table 9 - Child Protection.


All FGM statistics are also derived from the above source (UNICEF), on women aged 15–49 years old, unless indicated otherwise.
Iran FGM statistic is derived from:
Pashaei et al. 2011, Prevalence of female genital mutilation and the effects of health and education based on behavioural intention model on attitudes and beheaviours in women referring to health centeres in Ravansar - Iran, The First International & 4th National Congress on Health Education & Promotion, Health Promotion Perspectives, Volume 1, ISSN: 2228-6497


Source: The World's Women Reports, 2005, Table 2a - Indicators on marriage, ST/ESA/STAT/SER.K/WWW/16/Rev.5
Data Origin: United Nations, World Fertility Report 2003 (United Nations publication ST/ESA/SER.A/234).

The UAE statistic is derived from:
Hoda Rashad et al. "Marriage in the Arab World", Population Reference Bureau, 2005.

  • Itaborahy & Zhu, 05/2014, ILGA, State-Sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love.
  • Terri Rupar, 24/02/2014, The Washington Post, Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death.


The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, produced by the World Economic Forum.

No comments:

Post a Comment