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, Parliament could pass a law that says same sex unions are legal, but it won’t be done in this Parliament – not as long as I sit here,” Golding said Tuesday.
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.