Duncans residents bemused, church unhappy
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:Almost a week has elapsed but tongues are still wagging as residents freely discuss last Saturday's same-sex marriage between a lesbian couple at the luxurious Silver Sands property, near Duncans, in Trelawny.
"It is true, everybody up here know about it," said Duncans-based cosmetologist Antoinette Simpson.
"I did the hair of two persons who participated in the wedding … however, because of the tight security, only the workers who were on the property got a chance to witness the wedding."
While residents of Duncans remain bemused if not amused by the novelty nuptials, at least one local religious leader, Canon Justin Nembhard, the head of the flock at the Montego Bay-based St James Parish Church, is far from impressed and even believes that the law was breached.
"It is illegal … in Jamaica. Marriage is not a union between any two people; it must be between a man and a woman," said Nembhard. "This kind of thing is not the norm and is not something you would expect to see in a Christian country."
However, for one Silver Sands employee, who claimed she actually witnessed the exchange of vows between the couple - a Jamaican and a foreign woman, what took place looked normal in the context of a traditional wedding, except for the same-sex bride and 'bride'.
"It look quite normal with a lot of well-dressed guests, who seemed quite happy that the persons were getting married," the Silver Sands employee said. "The women said their vows, exchanged rings, kissed, got the blessing of the officiating minister, signed the relevant documents and that was that."
However, Nembhard said the marriage contract might not be worth the paper it is written on for the 'just married', those who signed on as witnesses and those who gave their blessings.
"I am wondering which registrar they are going to register 'this thing' because, based on the law here, it can't happen in Jamaica," said the church leader. "As I said before, that type of arrangement is illegal in Jamaica."
not lawful in ja
Prominent Montego Bay-based attorney-at-law Nathan Robb said while the police could not interfere with or stop a ceremony between two consenting adults, the union would not be lawful in Jamaica based on the legal definition for marriage.
"They can call it whatever they want but under Jamaican law, no marriage officer could validate because in our jurisdiction, a marriage is a union between a man and a woman," said Robb.
While some residents of Duncans seemed quite prepared to accept the 'strange' wedding and move on, Rastafarian painter Jah Billy was livid, arguing that a serious moral breach was committed.
"I couldn't believe it when I heard of it … those things belong to England and Rome not Jah-mek-ya (Jamaica)," the Rastafarian said. "We have lost our moral compass as a nation, that is why so much suffering is on the land … . We blaming politics but politics is not the problem; the problem is the disrespect for Jah (God) and his commandments."