Mixed reactions from Jamaica
Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:United States President Barack Obama's controversial endorsement of same-sex marriage has been met with mixed reaction by sector leaders in western Jamaica.
"He is a politician first and foremost, you see it in politics every day," said Dr Susaye Rattigan, clinical psychologist and dean of the Montego Bay-based International University of the Caribbean.
Last week, Obama used an interview with ABC News Network to declare that he had changed his mind and is now in favour of same-sex marriages.
Following Obama's announcement, his re-election campaign saw a massive spike in donations as gay donors lined up to pour money into his campaign.
That was not lost on Rattigan.
"In politics, you have to touch the hard topics and that is what he is doing. I love Barack, I don't think the issue is about the (homosexuals). The man (Obama) wants to win the elections," added Rattigan.
However, unlike Rattigan, the Reverend Ronald Webster, executive director of Ronmars International Ministries and pastor of the Hopewell Missionary Church in Hanover, believes that if Obama's declaration is a political ploy, it could raise questions about his integrity.
"There is no way those of us that teach and preach the Bible can support such a position," Webster told The Sunday Gleaner. "God declares that it is wrong, and we cannot move from that."
While in agreement with Webster, Dr Beverley Scott, executive director of the Family and Parenting Centre, suggested that an American president's office cannot show any bias against a particular group.
"I am not surprised by such an endorsement, he is the president of the United States," said Scott. "US presidents must be neutral, fair to everyone. However, the Bible clearly states that a man must not lie with another man."
Businessman Godfrey Dyer also thinks that Obama's declaration might not represent his personal belief.
"If you listen to the way he speaks about it, I am of the view that he has his personal convictions," Dyer said. "I like his style and this will not change my opinion of him because he has performed well.
"There is now a gradual growth in the US economy, although moderate; there are also more jobs," added Dyer.
Rastafarian cane vendor, Sajabi Francis, says the president's endorsement is for the Americans; not Jamaicans.
"He is losing the plot, and has bowed to pressure, the wrong message is being sent to the next generation," Francis said,
"When America sneezes, Jamaica catch cold so they might soon be all over our streets, it might soon be legal here," added Francis, days after West Portland Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz told The Gleaner that it is time for local legislators to confront and settle the issue of repealing the buggery law.