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Hold referendum on anti-buggery laws, no court ruling - Dr West

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 8:41 AM
West says he believes that any change to Jamaica’s law criminalising anal sex should come from a vote by Jamaicans in a referendum and not from a court.

President of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, Dr Wayne West, says the government should urgently press ahead with a referendum on Jamaica’s anti-buggery laws.

West says such an important change in societal norm should have the input of Jamaicans.

West says he believes that any change to Jamaica’s law criminalising anal sex should come from a vote by Jamaicans in a referendum and not from a court.

West notes that courts in the US overturned matrimonial laws legalising same sex marriages despite citizens voting in referenda against gay marriage.

He says Jamaica should seek to avoid such a situation, stressing that a national consensus, through a referendum on buggery, is the right way to go.

 

President of Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, Dr Wayne West

Gay rights advocate and attorney-at-law Maurice Tomlinson now has a case in the Supreme Court challenging Jamaica’s buggery laws.

Tomlinson is seeking to have the laws nullified in relation to all cases of adult consensual sex which attracts convictions and prison terms.

He is claiming that criminalising homosexuality amounts to a direct and blatant denial of equality before the law for him and other gay men.

Tomlinson further claims that the law encourages violence against homosexuals.

The coalition is among several religious groups which have joined the case as interested parties, opposing Tomlinson’s constitutional motion.