Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Monday, said his administration’s position on the matter is stated in law “and this matter is still on our books and will remain there for the foreseeable future.”
He added: “I respect the views of this new group. I understand from persons they intend to write to the government. We welcome their writing to government. We welcome meeting them as as a matter of fact. They are citizens of this country and they would like to express their views.
“But one has to look at the broader context of this request and it will be dangerous for the country to move in the direction of repealing laws against buggery,” Skerrit said.
He said that “as it is now anybody who wants to engage in whatever activities can do so in the privacy of his home. But one should not believe that the government is prepared or thinking of wanting to make this a public affair.”
Skerrit said he has not heard “any compelling arguments for it to be repealed and I don’t think any compelling arguments can be made for it to be repealed.”
Spokesman for the group, Daryl Phillip told radio listeners that Dominica’s laws making homosexual acts a criminal offence have fuelled negative perceptions about people engaged in the practice.
“Over the last 20 years, there began to be .... a developing hatred and some physical abuses targeted towards those people and that’s our concern,” Phillip said.
“It is targeting homosexuals,” he said. “It is not about telling people it is okay to go in public and make out. All we want is for that law to be removed and then we can go on an educational drive.”
Earlier this month the group, in a statement, said it was also calling on the Roman Catholic Church to make its position clear on the issue, saying that the buggery laws fuel homophobia in countries where they are still on the law books.
“MiriDom believes that homophobia in Dominica and the rest of the Anglophone Caribbean is fuelled by the existence of laws that make gay sex between consenting adults a criminal act,” it said. It noted that in 2008, the Holy See urged a repeal of anti-buggery laws throughout the world and the position has been ignored by the church in Dominica.
[A] phobia about homosexuals.... It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for — home and family. It was a religious fear and it had led to great brutality as fear always does.
In 1982, homophobia was used for the first time in The New York Times to report that the General Synod of the Church of England voted to refuse to condemn homosexuality.
Homophobia has never been listed as part of a clinical taxonomy of phobias, neither in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD); homophobia is usually used in a non-clinical sense.
In 1992, the American Psychiatric Association, recognizing the power of the stigma against homosexuality, issued the following statement, reaffirmed by the Board of Trustees, July 2011: "Whereas homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgement stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) calls on all international health organizations, psychiatric organizations, and individual psychiatrists in other countries to urge the repeal in their own countries of legislation that penalizes homosexual acts by consenting adults in private. Further, APA calls on these organizations and individuals to do all that is possible to decrease the stigma related to homosexuality wherever and whenever it may occur."
Here is a discussion (edited) with Dr Wayne West and Carol Narcisse (public commentator) on the issue
Peace and tolerance