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Referendum Bill ‘Could Pave Way For Same Sex Marriage’

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

DNA Leader Branville McCartney fears that one of the constitutional amendment bills could “pave the way” for same sex marriage in the country – an issue his party would not support.

At a press conference yesterday Mr McCartney said the DNA supports the upcoming referendum because equal rights for Bahamian women have “been a long time coming.” However,  he said the government must re-word bill four of the constitutional amendments and make it as “simple as possible to avoid other things, like same sex marriage” from being introduced.

However, when he introduced the bills in the House of Assembly last month, Prime Minister Perry Christie stressed that the bill in question would not make gay marriage legal. According to the Prime Minister, the bill seeks to end discrimination based on sex. This involves the insertion of the word “sex” in Article 26 of the Constitution so as to make it unconstitutional to discriminate based on whether someone is male or female.

“We in the DNA believe that the time has come and gone when Bahamian women should have the same rights as Bahamian men,” Mr McCartney said. “There are no ifs, ands and buts about it. This is 2014 and we live in a country where Bahamian women are discriminated against. Something is wrong with that.

“But we need to make it simple and be careful of the word gender because from a legal point that could mean quite a number of things. Gender could mean a number of things when you talk about gender equality, it could lead to same sex marriages. If the wording is wrong it allows for that type of thing.

“Now whether or not the country is ready for that or wants that is a whole different question but the question today is women having the same rights as men. So before this government gets it wrong, which they usually do, please let’s word it correctly so that our Bahamian women have the same rights as Bahamian men. Let’s make it simple. Please don’t try to sneak anything else in there.”

When asked if his party would support the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Bahamas, Mr McCartney said no. “Our party is based on the principles of the Bible. I do not believe the God Almighty intended men to marry men and women to marry women.”

As he introduced bill four in the House, Mr Christie sought to allay possible fears that the amendment could lead to gay marriage in the Bahamas.

“I should caution, however, that this bill makes it clear that the existing exceptions will continue to apply,” the Prime Minister said last month. “In particular, this bill will not make same-sex marriages lawful. Such unions are already treated as void under the Matrimonial Causes Act and the genesis of this particular legal position pre-dates the Independence Constitution. This will not change under the proposed amendments to Article 26.”

Debate on the four bills is expected to begin today.

The first bill would enable a child born outside the Bahamas to a Bahamian woman to have automatic Bahamian citizenship at birth. However, the government does not plan to have the clause operate retroactively.

The government will grant Bahamian citizenship to all applicants born abroad after July 9, 1973 – and before the law changes – to a Bahamian-born mother and non-Bahamian father, subject to the exceptions and in accordance with procedures already prescribed by law.

Other bills to be debated include allowing a Bahamian woman who marries a foreign man to secure for him the same access to Bahamian citizenship that a Bahamian man has always enjoyed under the Constitution in relation to his foreign wife.

The third bill seeks to remedy the one area of the Bahamas’ Constitution that discriminates against men based on gender. Presently, an unmarried Bahamian father cannot pass his citizenship to a child born to a foreign woman.

The bill would give an unwed Bahamian father the same right to pass citizenship to his child that a Bahamian woman has always had under the Constitution in relation to a child born to her out of wedlock.

The referendum is set for November 6.

Comments

jt 5 years, 6 months ago

What the hell is everyone so afraid of? Equality for women but not for gay people? We could be making a fortune as a gay wedding destination but we carry on in ignorance, heads stuck in the sand as usual, back pedaling into the dark ages while the civilized world moves ahead without us...

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pablojay 5 years, 6 months ago

YEAH ! That is the new Bahamas, all we care about is money,to hell with morals and christian principles. We could also make all illegal drugs legal in the Bahamas, that would even bring in more money ! LET'S GO BAHAMAS!

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CuriousAbaconian 5 years, 6 months ago

Morals are subjective, and certainly don't pay the bills. Equality is something we all deserve - regardless of race, sexual orientation, political leanings, etc. Wake up people!

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henny 5 years, 6 months ago

agree 100% CuriousAbaconian.

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pablojay 5 years, 6 months ago

That's why a robber would think nothing of putting a gun in your face ,because like you say morals are subjective and he sees nothing wrong with robbing you and killing you if you resist, besides he has bills also

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CuriousAbaconian 5 years, 6 months ago

You missed the boat pablo. I was referring to your previous use of the word "morals" and trying to relate them to christian principles. Of course if a thief points a gun at me, it's apparent he has no morals. This has nothing to do with the issue of equality for ALL Bahamians. Insinuating that because someone is a homosexual he/she is someway "immoral" or undeserving of the rights that we heterosexual Bahamians enjoy is foolishness. That's my point - please stop trying to muddy the waters. If you're a bigot, that's your problem, but please don't suggest that such bigotry should influence individual rights.

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 6 months ago

Looka the DNA spreading homophobia.....

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 6 months ago

Bran will pander to anyone on anything for votes...

Bout party of change.... jokes....

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sansoucireader 5 years, 6 months ago

These annoying political wannabes! They try to give the impression that they agree with change but then really show their true colours. Bringing up same sex marriage is like tossing another log on the fire. No one was considering that before, but now the homophobic crowd will get on board. Wasn't DNA supporter Wayne Munroe on TV news last week talking about how he's voting NO to everything? DNA; not so supportive as they claim to be.

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ShirleyGeorgann 5 years, 6 months ago

Its so sad that the politicans wont put their thoughts simply on ensuring that women get equal rights, no they rather pander on their political agenda.I dont see a viable alternative to a sound Government going forward. I fear if we dont wake up it will be 5 more years of The PLP. God save us from this nightmare.

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BSObserver 5 years, 6 months ago

It might be good perhaps to consider what has happened in other countries where the word "gender" has been redefined to mean more than male and female. Consider one dictionary's definition; "The psychological diagnosis gender identity disorder (GID) is used to describe a male or female that feels a strong identification with the opposite sex and experiences considerable distress because of their actual sex."

A person "distressed" in this way is given certain protection under the law in some countries allowing special consideration to be given. For example one school-aged boy in the USA claiming to suffer from GID was allowed to use the girl's changing room. When some of the girls complained they were told that the individual rights of the GID patient superseded theirs.

Or the experience I was told about by a friend, who was traveling abroad, where on the destination country's immigration form where gender was to be declared there were not two, but three, choices; male, female, and "other". Yes, other.

So let's be informed Bahamas, there are agendas at play that would have us open the doors to the "other" genders that they feel should be acknowledged.

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Publius 5 years, 6 months ago

The word "gender" is not being introduced into the Constitution at all. Branville put that out there. That is not true or accurate though.

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Publius 5 years, 6 months ago

Obviously Branville has not read the Bill, because the Bill does not introduce the word "gender" at all. Too many of these politicians are too lazy to put in real work and at the end of the day resort to pandering, since it is so easy to do.

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