also: PM Says No To Gay Marriage as posted below
Prime Minister Bruce Golding says the nation's Parliament will not recognise same-sex marriage under his watch.
"There is the possibility that some time in the future, Parliamen
The prime minister was opening the debate on the Charter of Rights, which is set to replace chapter three of the Constitution.
The Charter of Rights
At present, the Constitution does not guarantee certain rights to citizens, a situation which the Charter of Rights is intended to change.
However, Golding said same-sex unions and marriages would not become rights under the legislation.
"I make no apology in saying decisively and emphatically that the Government of Jamaica remains irrevocably opposed to the recognition, legitimisation or acceptance of same-sex marriages or same-sex unions," Golding declared.
The provision being proposed would entrench within the Constitution that laws passed in Parliament relating to the form of unions between people cannot be held in violation of person's fundamental rights and freedom.
Not preventing homosexuality
In explaining how the law would work, Golding said, "We are not putting in the Constitution something to prevent homosexuality. What we are putting in the Constitution is something that says that if you pass a law against homosexuality, that law cannot be challenged."
The prime minister said that while he accepts that Government "should not interfere in what two consenting adults choose to do within their own pro-tected privacy, I will not accept that homosexuality must be accepted as a legitimate form of behaviour or the equivalent of marriage".
He acknowledged that there were international risks the country faces as a result of its position on homosexuality,but said Jamaica would hold dearly to its values on sexuality and the family.
Also let us not forget the rhetoric from the People's National Party when they were in power from the then Attorney General AJ Nicholson and that infamous Gleaner cartoon too:
In seeking to make submissions to the Joint Select Committee at this eleventh hour, the church representatives and the group of lawyers who complain about certain provisions of the Charter, concerning the protection of the right to privacy, need to be reminded of the history and purport of those provisions as they were developed.
First, those provisions are to the same effect as those that are contained in the recommendations of the Constitutional Commission of the early 1990s, under the chairmanship of Dr. Lloyd Barnett, in their draft Bill on the Charter
Second, the Joint Select Committee that sat for a long time to consider the Charter provisions, in the late 1990s, heard presentations from groups who take a completely opposite view to that taken by the church representatives and group of lawyers. Those entities, including J-FLAG, even though approaching the matter from the base of a different provision in the Bill, were of the view that the Charter should move away from the recommendations of the Constitutional Commission on this score and that there should be no discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.
The Joint Select Committee did not agree that such a recommendation should be made to Parliament since it saw such a measure as opening the door to the legalisation, or at least, the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Third, the Parliamentary Opposition tabled a Charter of Rights Bill in the name of its former leader, in which the provisions of which the church representatives and group of lawyers now complain are in the same terms as those recommended by the Constitutional Commission that was chaired by Dr. Barnett.
The church representatives and group of lawyers ought to be mindful of the following:
• It is not possible to have a policeman placed in every bedroom in Jamaica. So that, within the confines of a person’s home, this particular mischief cannot be prevented or punished except, of course, someone complains.
• Every provision in a law or a constitution is subject to interpretation by judges. Interpretation of laws, however narrowly or broadly drafted, is always coloured by the experience, culture and prevailing circumstances by which the interpreter is guided in coming to a conclusion. That is one of the reasons why the final interpreter of a country’s laws and constitutional provisions should be exposed to and be keenly aware of the socio-cultural imperatives that must guide his decision."
Senator A.J. Nicholson, Q.C.