Review of The JFLAG Parliamentary Submission

As appearing in Parliament on June 5, 2001

“THE JAMAICA FORUM FOR LESBIANS ALL-SEXUALS AND GAYS (J-FLAG) WITH REGARD TO “AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION OF JAMAICA TO PROVIDE FOR A CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FOR CONNECTED MATTERS”

A constitution should provide a foundation of principles upon which the laws of a society are built. It should ensure, for all its constituents, the rights to equality before the law, and to dignity of the person.
Rights such as these are integral to the very foundation of this country. The birth of Jamaica as a modern nation occurred out of a history of oppression and colonialism that necessitated the claiming, by the disadvantaged black majority, of a new rule of law that idealised these two rights.
A Bill of Rights should seek to protect the inherent human identity from abuse. By this we mean that features which are inherently and innately a part of one’s identity ought not to be allowed to form the basis for discrimination or exclusion by others. The Jamaican Constitution currently protects against discrimination based on race, and it is now proposed that gender be included as a head of non-discrimination. We believe that sexual orientation also ought properly to be brought under the protective umbrella of the anti-discrimination clause.
What, then, is “sexual orientation”? Professor Edwin Cameron (now a Judge of the South African Constitutional Court) writes, at pp. 450 of the 1993 volume of the South African Law Times ([1993] S.A.L.T. 450):
“Sexual orientation is defined by reference to erotic attraction: in the case of heterosexuals, to members of the opposite sex; in the case of gays and lesbians, to members of the same sex. Potentially, a homosexual or gay or lesbian person can therefore be anyone who is erotically attracted to members of his or her own sex”.

Continue HERE for the full presentation or HERE for a summary

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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