A LESBIAN couple in Kingston is seeking to formalise their relationship, hoping to give each partner the rights and privileges usually offered to spouses or long term partners in heterosexual relationships.
However, Bert Samuels, an attorney-at-law says that any legal arrangements made by these women may not be recognised under law because homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica. Bert is so wrong on this as it is buggery that is illegal and any other sex act leaning towards the lesser charge of gross indecency in public. Bert should have said that the definition of marriage is deeply entrenched in our constitution and cannot be amended so easily.
Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, the two women, who will be called Michelleand Beverley, said they have been going through all the steps taken by persons making a deep commitment to each other.
The couple, who have been together for two and a half years, is currently looking at wedding rings and said they will be having a formal ceremony -with an ordained minister, but not in a church, to mark their commitment to each other in April.
They are in the process of making legal arrangements to deem the partners equal share in joint bank accounts, a home they are buying together and in a car and appliance and furniture they have bought.
In addition, they are seeking to have each partner given status similar to that of a husband and wife so that they can care for each other should they be in hospital or in other serious circumstances.
"I don't want that if anything should happen to me, that my relatives will come and take everything and she will be left out in the cold," explained Beverley.
"We have heard of incidents with other gay couples where something happen to one of them and there was nothing in writing and the family come and take everything and they are left out. I think that's sad. I want to ensure that she's secure and I am secure," added Michelle, who assumes the "male" role in the relationship. But Mr. Samuels said local courts would not honour legal arrangements, which make reference to the two women being a couple. "The law recognises only a man and a woman as a couple. You can't enforce a contract which supports an illegality," he said. In addition, there are no spousal rights given to lesbian couples in Jamaica so for example, a hospital cannot be forced to recognise a lesbian partner as a spouse or long term partner.
"The law would recognise an arrangement between the women only if they entered into a partnership agreement where they decide on property splits, similar to that of a business relationship. They cannot make direct reference to their romantic partnership," Mr. Samuels added.