Bahamas looking towards marriage equality

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Bahamas’ Chief Justice Michael Barnett hopes to address the marriage equality issue in the country this year.

“I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time when the courts of The Bahamas will address the issue of same sex marriage,” said Barnett in his statement he made this month.

“I also have no doubt that in deciding the issue we will have respect for the decisions that emanate not only from the Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia, but also from decisions of the courts of the Unites States of America,” he added.

While same-sex activity has been legal since 1991, the criminal code still discriminates against LGBT people. However, civil union laws are legal.

Barnett hopes to look to other countries for reference in dealing with marriage equality.

“Based on its proximity to the United States, commerce, trade and tourism link our respective economies,” continued Barnett, hoping the nation’s proximity to the US will possibly change its legislation.

“More and more citizens of both our countries are finding it necessary to resort to the courts of our countries to resolve the disputes that inevitably arise.”

The Bahamas has historically been anti-LGBT with its lack of a strong judicial system protecting the LGBT community and the country is widely known as being socially conservative Christian and allowing LGBT-related crimes to be ignored.

In 2007, a “Save the Family” rally saw hundreds attend the event to sign a petition for a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages.

While not an advocate for marriage equality, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd suggests that the constitution should be amended to rule out discrimination solely on sexual orientation earlier this month.

Barnett continued his statement: “Ours is an ever shrinking global village. The problems that affect the lives of our citizens and the residents of our respective countries have more in common than there are differences. Our respective countries both have written constitutions that protect our human rights. Our citizens and visitors look to us, the justices of court, to protect these rights.”

429Magazine

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