Sun | Apr 23, 2017

'I want to kiss my bride' ... Lesbian couple want to get married in Jamaica before they die

Published:Friday | June 12, 2015 | 6:00 AMGary Spaulding

"We don't know what will happen in years to come, but I must admit that I secretly wish I will kiss my bride and be pronounced partners before I die," declared Carla, an obviously heartbroken member of the Lesbian, Gays, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

The Jamaican lesbian was reacting to reports that the vast majority of her compatriots continue to baulk at the prospect of same-sex marriage in their homeland.

Carla and her 'spouse' Krystal, are a Jamaican lesbian couple who have been together for many years and have always dreamt of being legally married in the land of their birth.

"My partner and I used to contemplate marriage," said Carla. "Perhaps we were naive at first, but that blossomed into a bit of boldness."

Added Carla: "I'm not sure if my partner knows how disheartening it has been for me, when I sometimes sit in solitude and question why things have to be this way. Why are people so opposed to allowing lesbians to marry each other?"

No right to marriage

She lamented that she has no right to marriage although she has spent much of her life loving this woman who has been her rock for several years.

A past student of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Carla recounted how Krystal supported her academically when she was in school.

"She has always been there for me when I was unemployed and on the verge of depression," said Carla. "She always provided emotional support like no other, and who remains equally, if not more committed to us and the prosperity of our union, and yet, I am not allowed to marry her," she lamented.

Carla's emphasis on "her" suggested that she was the "male" in the relationship.

But even with an international poll revealing that the vast majority of their compatriots continue to baulk at the prospect of same-sex marriage in Jamaica, Carla insisted they were holding on to their dream.

Jamaicans disapproved

The study done by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) found that 89 per cent of Jamaicans disapproved of same-sex marriage, with a minute 2.2 per cent strongly approving.

Carla said she and Krystal had decided that when the time was right, they would challenge the constitutionality of the marriage provision, outlined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

"But upon closer inspection over a few months, we recognised that the letter of the law regarding the definition and more importantly, the conditions of marriage, were written in such a way that no legal claim against discrimination could be made regarding these provisions," she said.

"We soon recognised that our desire for marriage to each other as lesbians, was not a right, even though marriage is listed under the same Chapter that talks about freedom of religion, the right to due process, the right to life and many other liberties," she added.

Carla suggested that the provision was discriminatory. "It seems that only the rights of the majority count in this regard, since only persons who desire marriage to the opposite sex are legally permitted and privileged to do so," she complained.

Asserting that they are aware that only Parliament has the power to change/challenge that section of the Constitution - not the Supreme Court, Carla said: "We were a bit more hopeful, given the relative impartiality of the judiciary."

She said based on strong cultural attitudes towards and about marriage, it was highly unlikely that two-thirds of the members of parliament would even pause to consider affording the LGBT community this right, which many of them already enjoyed.