Wed | Jul 28, 2021

Gay marriage tougher battle than buggery repeal

Published:Friday | December 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Some gay Jamaicans want to get married. Many do not. But the argument that decriminalising private anal intercourse between consenting adults will lead to a flood of gay weddings is disingenuous at best and a flat-out lie at worst.

This is because Section 18 of our Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms explicitly bans the legal recognition of any form of gay unions, whether common-law or marriage. Changing our charter is very difficult compared to the simple act of repealing a law. So even if our Parliament joined the majority of countries in the world and struck down the barbaric British colonially imposed anti-sodomy statute, same-sex couples would have to wait for the much tougher process of ending the ban of their relationships.

This fact is clear to anyone who bothers to take even a cursory glance at our Constitution and laws. But as usual, the fearmongers among us, whipped up by religious extremists, aren't bothered by facts, including the dreadful reality that our buggery law contributes to one of the highest HIV prevalence rates globally by driving men who have sex with men into hiding.

And tragically, many of these men are forced to have relationships with women as masks, or 'cures', for their homosexuality because our archaic law marks them as 'unapprehended' criminals and gives licence to horrendous societal abuse. Simply put, the anti-buggery law harms men, women, and even children.

But to spite gays, our cowardly parliamentarians want to keep this law that demonstrably harms our society. SHAME!

MAURICE TOMLINSON