Sat | Dec 7, 2019

Letter of the Day : A matter of perspective

Published:Thursday | July 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM


There are many Jamaicans who are displeased with the recent US Supreme Court ruling concerning the constitutionality of same-sex marriages in the United States. And I am not speaking about Jamaicans residing in the United States alone. Jamaicans from every walk of life, from yard and abroad, have been sharing opinions on the matter.

As to be expected, discourse on the matter has been predominantly emotionally charged as Jamaicans turn to faith, tradition, 'natural' law and individual common sense to defend views held in relation to the US ruling. It is not uncommon for such views to be laced with colourful words and passionate exchanges as the majority express disdain for the pervasive culture being pushed in our faces.

But why the interest in a ruling made in the United States? Is it that the general sentiment is that the US will try to impose their way on us? Are we worried that because we already adopt so much that is US-based, one day we will adopt a similar same-sex policy?

Traditionally, the majority of Jamaicans have disagreed with same-sex overtures, especially the perceived practices involved in homosexual sexual behaviour. Not surprisingly, our statutes continue to punish the act of buggery.

In a changing world where tolerance of certain acts with which we may disagree is becoming the norm, we may soon have to decide whether to hold on to Uncle Sam's extended hand or take our sharpest blade and sever it. As a nation, we may be forced to look to non-traditional neighbours with whom we can strengthen socially, financially and morally acceptable ties.

As expected, some representatives of the local church have aired their views concerning the landmark US ruling. Many support the thinking that marriage is ordained by God and should be between a male and female alone. No exceptions!

In the end, it is all a matter of perspective. As a 'free' people, we have the right to chart our own path.


People could decide


Looking ahead, the Jamaica government may one day put it to the people to decide whether or not to accept same-sex legislature affirming marital rights for LGBT members. I am not sure anyone expects the majority of Jamaicans to accept same-sex marriage in the future, but the day may yet come when we are talking about it even more.

We can admit it. We are not the most proficient people when it comes to reasoning. Oftentimes we let our hearts rule our heads. There are times when that may be advantageous. In the majority of cases, though, and certainly where it concerns taking our country forward in a changing global landscape, we have to engage our mental faculties more and contribute to discourse in which we use sound reasoning to assist in decision-making.

It cannot and ought not be sufficient to say that future decisions regarding same-sex marriage in Jamaica should be based on what religion says alone, or what tradition tells us alone, or what the law says alone. Any decision regarding same-sex marriage in Jamaica must consider all facets and voices - including the voices of the marginalia - and must be made based on what is in the best interest of the country and all Jamaicans.

After all, we are still out of many, one people.

Dexter Wharton

Communications officer

Global Interfaith Council