Tag Archives: LGBT discrimination

Caribbean Priest Urges Constitutional Protection for Lesbians, Gays

The Caribbean is not noted for its tolerance of LGBT rights, but as Trinidad debates a proposed new constitution, a Catholic priest has caught national attention for speaking up in favour of building LGBT protections into its Chapter on Human Rights:

Trinidad

 

PRIEST BATS FOR GAYS

‘They should have rights as other people have’

A Catholic priest has come out in support of the gay community, saying their rights, including the right to love whomever they want, should be included in the Constitution.

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Dr Fr Stephen Geofroy captured the attention of the audience with his comments during consultation on the draft Constitution at the University of the West Indies Sport and Physical Education Centre, St Augustine, on Monday evening.

Geofroy said the matter should not be debated further and instead Government should be embracing of all its people.

“Now on the issue of sexual orientation being subject to further national discussion…discussion about what? Aren’t LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), aren’t they not humans still, yes or no?” said Geofroy.

“Yes? Then they should have rights as other people have,” he continued as he received loud applause from the packed hall.

Geofroy said there was no debate on whether gays are people or not as they have expressed themselves clearly that they are part and parcel of this country’s culture.

“We’ve come over a long history of slavery and indentureship and now it is time to break the many things that denigrate the person,” said Geofroy.

“This is certainly one of the things we have to do and we have to be very decisive of it.”

Geofroy said there has been discrimination on the basis of race, colour and class in this country.

“…I don’t see the difference with sexual orientation. We are citizens of a country and people have the right to love who they want irrespective,” said Geofroy .

He said to continue discussing the issue at a national level without taking a decision was to go the way of other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda as part of a political agenda.

“I think we should avoid that like the plague,” he said.

Geofroy said the rights of a minority should not be suffered because of the majority as the bill of rights speaks to upholding the dignity of all.

“We do not belong to a theocracy, neither are we in a religious oligarchy where people impose their beliefs on others,” said Geofroy.

He said if it was this way then moves would be made to criminalise adultery, masturbation and the use of condoms.

“Then all of these things should be looked at and in my tradition I would say first, they are all sins so I think we have to be very careful on human rights and our rights to our own belief but not the right to impose it on the rest of the population,” he said.

via  Trinidad Express Newspaper 

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Queen to Sign Charter Against Discrimination

In the first time the Queen has voiced support for gay rights in her 61-year reign, she is set to sign a new charter which aims to tackle homophobic discrimination.

At what will be her first public appearance since leaving the hospital where she was treated for gastroenteritis, the Queen will sign a new Commonwealth Charter, and will make an address explaining her commitment to it.
During the live television broadcast, Queen Elizabeth II, will, in what is being described as a “watershed” moment, signal her support for gay rights, a well as gender equality, and the charter which aims to boost human rights across the Commonwealth.
The charter reads: “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”
The “other grounds” clause in the charter is intended to refer to sexuality, however specific references to gay and lesbian people were omitted due to some Commonwealth countries with anti-gay laws, reports the Daily Mail.
The Queen is expected to refer to rights which must “include everyone”, and insiders are noting the appearance as a nod to inclusivity.
A diplomatic source said: “The impact of this statement on gay and women’s rights should not be underestimated. Nothing this progressive has ever been approved by the United Nations. And it is most unusual for the Queen to request to sign documents in public, never mind call the cameras in.”
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace, said: “In this charter, the Queen is endorsing a decision taken by the Commonwealth.” But he added: “The Queen does not take a personal view on these issues. The Queen’s position is apolitical, as it is on all matters of this sort.”
Prior to tomorrow’s appearance, the Queen has been in talks with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, who has led the initiative. Last month, he said: “We oppose discrimination or stigmatisation on any grounds.”
Royal aides have also been in discussion with Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has backed the drive for better gay rights, and gender equality.
Gay rights advocates have voiced strong opinions in the past, on the fact that the Queen is a patron of over 600 charities, however none of them are for gay rights. Queen Elizabeth II has never publicly voiced her support of equal rights for gay people.
Ben Summerskill of Stonewall, said the Queen had taken “an historic step forward” on gay rights, and said “The Palace has finally caught up with public opinion.”
He also said it was significant that the Queen was publicly acknowledging “the importance of the six per cent of her subjects who are gay. Some of the worst persecution of gay people in the world takes place in Commonwealth countries as a result of the British Empire.”

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