REMAINS unaccommodating of gay lifestyles, the latest Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson polls have found.
The polls, conducted on May 31 and June 1 across 84 communities in Jamaica’s 14 parishes, found that 70 per cent of respondents believe that homosexuals
and lesbians should not be entitled to the same basic rights and privileges enjoyed by heterosexual Jamaicans.
The polls, which had a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent
, found that 26 per cent of respondents believe that homosexuals should enjoy the same level of lifestyle as other persons.
The study found that women are more accommodating of gay
lifestyles. Some 34 per cent of them said gays should enjoy the same basic rights compared to 20 per cent of males who share this view.
There have been several cases of attacks on homosexuals in Jamaica in recent years as most locals use violence to display their dismay at the practice.
Treatment of homosexuals
Dancehall artistes have been blamed for the less-than-accommodating treatment of homosexuals, with locals said to be acting out the violence portrayed in the lyrics.
During a recent official visit to the United Kingdom
, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, in an interview on the BBC’s programme ‘HARDtalk’, said that, in Jamaica, “we do have a long-standing culture that is very opposed to homosexuality. I think that is changing. I believe there is greater acceptance now that people have different lifestyles, that their privacy must be respected”.
The prime minister, however, said he would not allow gays to be part of his Cabinet, eliciting cries from several human rights and gay activists locally.
Golding has refused to bow. In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, the prime minister referred to the interview and then made a thinly-veiled swipe at gay lifestyles.
Likely to vote for Golding
“I make no apology, absolutely no apology when I say that anything that I regard as contradictory, as inimical, to the foundation of [the] family unit, is not something that will ever sit comfortably,” the prime minister said.
Golding’s stance in the BBC interview earned him some favour among persons who identified themselves as supporters of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP). Twenty-six per cent of the respondents said that, based on his stance, they are more likely to vote for Golding and his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the next election.
In total, 45 per cent of respondents said they are more likely to vote for Golding and his party because of the statement.
The prime minister has lost little support with just five per cent of respondents who said they are less likely to vote for him because of the statement.
Meanwhile, Golding’s statement that he would not have gays in his Cabinet will make no difference in the way 65 per cent of PNP supporters and 20 per cent of JLP supporters are likely vote. In total, 48 per cent of the sample said it would make no difference at all, while two per cent said they don’t know.