Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Same-sex marriage and the US Supreme Court

Published:Thursday | August 6, 2015 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The recent 5-4 decision of the US Supreme Court to recognise same-sex marriages has generated worldwide debate.

Some have claimed that this decision is a victory for human rights. World leaders who should know better have been mouthing the refrain, "it does not matter who you love". This is a fallacy of the highest order; it matters greatly whom we love and it matters even more whom we decide to marry. Should a father and his grown son who "love" each other be allowed to marry? How about brothers and sisters? Before these scenarios are dismissed as far-fetched, it should be noted that a self-proclaimed polygamist in Montana has applied for a marriage licence in order to take a second bride, and he claims to be inspired by the recent ruling of the US Supreme Court.

Who draws the line on boundaries in the context of marriage? Marriage has never been simply a private issue but it is a very public matter and has implication for the smooth functioning of the society. It is obvious that the Supreme Court in the United States (US) has overstepped its bounds. A court should interpret existing laws, not create new ones. The creation of laws is the responsibility of congress or parliament (in our case). It is more likely for the view of the general public to be seen in a vote by congress or parliament. How can it be just for an institution such as marriage to be redefined by nine people who were not elected by the people? This ruling by the Supreme Court has the potential to result in chaotic situations beyond the borders of the US.

On a related matter, we note that the minister of justice, Senator Mark Golding, has endorsed the week of "gay pride" being implemented during the country's celebration of Emancipation and Independence. These are holidays in which Jamaicans unite to celebrate the country's achievements, and it cannot be right for a particular interest group to simply insert its agenda in holidays which have such historical significance. We want to know if Minister Golding's endorsement of gay pride week during Emancipendence celebration is supported by the Cabinet. We await an answer from the prime minister, minister of youth and culture, and minister of information.

MARSHA THOMAS