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‘No’ Campaign Launched Over Referendum Vote

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Save Our Bahamas Committee - the group that opposed the 2013 gambling referendum - yesterday launched a vote no campaign against the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill.

The group is urging people to vote “no” to question four in the June 7 gender equality referendum. The committee is spearheaded by a number of the nation’s leading pastors.

During a press conference at the Grace Community Church on Sunday, the committee called on the electorate to “vote their conscience” on bills one, two and three; but urged voters against being duped by the government’s “diabolical” plot to allow for same-sex marriage under the guise of gender equality.

The committee said it was convinced, given the precedent set in other countries, that the fourth bill would open the door to legalising same-sex marriage in the Bahamas despite the government’s continued assurance that it would not.

According to Save Our Bahamas, its view was reinforced by the Christie administration’s refusal to amend the constitution to define marriage as a union between a “born male” and a “born female” only.

The committee said these terms were originally put forward and endorsed by late pastor Dr Myles Munroe.

The group accused the Christie administration of “misrepresenting” the work of Dr Munroe, insisting that the government has presented his comments as only having issue with the terms “sex” and “sex at birth,” when in fact the late pastor often called for the phrases “born male” and a “born female” to be included in the amendments to the Constitution.

“This is what the people of the Bahamas (have) asked for, but once again, rather than favourably respond to the expressed will of the Bahamian people, the government has turned a deaf ear,” said senior pastor of Bahamas Harvest Church Mario Moxey.

“On bill four, we are definitely asking the nation to vote no,” he added.

Save Our Bahamas said it also intends to deliver a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister, requesting initial seed funding of $100,000 for its campaign. The group insisted that the government has made it clear in recent weeks that it has a “horse in the race,” a factor the group said could send the wrong impression to the electorate.

Lyall Bethel, pastor of Grace Community Church and associate member of the Save Our Bahamas committee, suggested that the Christie administration’s botched handling of the 2013 gambling referendum has made the vote “no” campaign more difficult.

Save Our Bahamas has also called for full disclosure of how much money the government has invested in its vote “yes” campaign.

According to Pastor Bethel, voters are now uninterested in casting ballots because the government did not adhere to the results of the 2013 gambling referendum.

However the gender vote is a constitutional referendum, therefore its results are binding.

“Persons are rightfully discouraged,” the pastor said. “But, I want to caution everyone who is discouraged to realise (that) you can’t let your discouragement translate in to you not going out to vote. If you are discouraged and you feel as if this government needs to be taught a lesson, then go out and vote no.”

During the launch of the government’s vote “yes” campaign last Sunday, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the referendum did not propose radical change, pushing back against what he called “false rumours or incorrect information.”

He contended that the controversial amendment would not lead to same-sex marriage, stating that it would ensure that Bahamian men and women were equal under the law.

Mr Christie went on to argue that by law – under the Matrimonial Causes Act - marriage in the Bahamas must be between a man and a woman, implying the new amendment would not change that.

However, Save Our Bahamas took issue with this. Pastor Bethel stressed that all laws are subservient to the Constitution.

Pastor Bethel said the group has approached both major political parties in recent months about its concerns about the referendum.

He said meetings with the Free National Movement yielded great results. But, according to Pastor Bethel, the governing party has refused to even meet with his committee.

The fourth amendment seeks to eliminate gender discrimination in the Constitution by inserting the word “sex,” which has been defined as being “male or female,” in Article 26.

The group will hold a prayer meeting in Rawson Square at 7.30 tonight, and every Monday night leading up to the vote.

The group will also hold a pastor’s forum on Thursday to ensure that Christian ministers have a full understanding of the potential ramifications of bill four.

Thursday’s forum will be held at Evangelistic Temple.

Save Our Bahamas also consists of Minister Kevin Harris; Alfred Stewart, senior pastor at New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church; and Geoffrey Wood, senior pastor of Temple Baptist Church.

Comments

themessenger 3 years, 5 months ago

"Save Our Bahamas said it also intends to deliver a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister, requesting initial seed funding of $100,000 for its campaign." Jesus wept! Even the "good" pastors looking for free lunch to fund their homophobic agenda. Good luck with that with Christie dem as they definitely on the other side of that fence.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 5 months ago

Yep they always worried about boongie-ing - but you never see the bastards up to the prison protesting.

I would like to think that a fair and honest God would not have a place such as hell. I mean what father would do that to his children ..... but then I think of the pastors, and say, well...

These people are unbelievable.

They never talk about nothing except gay cruise ships. Let the people starve, children malnourished, shoot up in the school, teenage pregnancy, no sex education, you name it.............but let a gay thing start and they all fired up - or let a rasta say let's legalize marijuana and they all fired up. How much money they get from the bail money for all these petty smokers? They must be getting something out of it. Why do they want most of our young men to be in prison for NOTHING and to have lifetime records so they can't get a job?

What is their real agenda? Somebody needs to figure out what they are really up to - cause it can't be helping the people.

TheMadHatter

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

But the government has a "horse in the race" ......... should that be??????? .......... the vote Yes and No campaigns should come from civil society and let the government concentrate on the Commission and the electoral process .......... its naked bias from PLP operatives .. where were they in 2002???????? ............campaigning against Hubert Ingraham

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themessenger 3 years, 5 months ago

Very true, however I don't think the electorate should be swayed into doing our women another monumental disservice just to "get even" with the PLP who don't give a damn anyway or to accommodate some homophobic bible thumpers misguided agenda.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

Messenger ................... this is about the Bahamian women VOTE in 2017 ...... but this will do very little to ease the suffering of those pre-June7, 2016 Constitution vicims ........ Who will allegedly benefit from this Referendum have not been born/married yet ........... this is not retroactive to July 10, 1973 .......... the 150,000 to 200,000 disenfranchised persons (illegitimates, overseas born, etc. that have to live with the Constitution will have no solace ...... and why should the government be about fast-tracking foreign men to citizenship status anyway?????? ........... this is an asinine plot to distract from serious shortcomings of the PLP government ............ this "gender vote" is no different from Carnival or BAMSI

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themessenger 3 years, 5 months ago

Sheeprunner, I think all right thinking Bahamians have the shortcomings of the PLP very squarely in their eye and I don't see anyone with a lick of common sense being distracted from that by the gender vote when the disarray and political cannibalism that the opposition is currently engaged in is doing an admirable job of that already. I'm not suggesting nor is the constitutional amendment suggesting fast tracking the citizenship of foreign men merely the right of the foreign husband of my Bahamian born daughter and my yet unborn grandchildren to have the same rights and opportunity as the foreign wife and children of my Bahamian son.

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Greentea 3 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for personalizing this Messenger. We have three wonderful boys in our family born to their Bahamian ma and American Pa who could be of benefit to this country sometime in the future. They should be allowed to do so as citizens.

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Jonahbay 3 years, 5 months ago

I feel that because this is not retroactive, we have lost a whole load of possible Bahamians who could make positive contributions. It is just so sad...

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Economist 3 years, 5 months ago

As I understand it they are only saying NO to #4 and that people should vote their conscious on #1-3.

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Reality_Check 3 years, 4 months ago

You're dead wrong. Take number two for example. Harvey Tynes QC has already pointed out that a foreign man should not be able to acquire Bahamian citizenship and the right to vote just by marrying a Bahamian woman. This grave mistake would only serve to amplify the serious mistake that already exists in our constitution whereby a foreign women marrying a Bahamian man automatically acquires Bahamian citizenship. The act of marriage should not be synonymous with obtaining citizenship and voting rights. These are two very different things and two wrongs certainly do not make a right. If anything, our constitution should be amended to remove the original mistake so that a woman does not automatically acquires citizenship and voting rights upon marrying a Bahamian man. The other three proposed amendments all carrying equally serious unfavourable consequences for our country and the way of life of Bahamians. I am compelled to vote "NO" for all four of the proposed amendments and you would be wise to do likewise.

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jensweet 3 years, 3 months ago

It does not say a woman automatically becomes a citizen, she must make an application: "10. Any woman who, after 9th July 1973, marries a person who is or becomes a citizen of The Bahamas shall be entitled, provided she is still so married, upon making application in such manner as may be prescribed and upon taking the oath of allegiance of such declaration as may be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas: Provided that the right to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas under this Article shall be subject to such exceptions or qualifications as may be prescribed in the interests of national security of public policy." The application is just as long and complicated as it is for any other person applying for citizenship.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 5 months ago

I am voting YES to number four #4 YES and all of the otherrs no. Now perhaps the pastor seen on TV in the luxury of his home will put into pactrice .Jesus admonishment "sell what you have and follow me" Perhaps many of his parishioners go to bed hungry while he lives large. I have my own Pastor, he is a poor man and I love he dearly . He has not told me how to vote.

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themessenger 3 years, 5 months ago

Nor should your Pastor tell you how to vote as that is your God given right not his. You an those evil and godless people you continue to slavishly support should pay heed to the Holy Gospel. "The Lord trieth the righteous but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup." Yours and their day of reckoning will soon be at hand.

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Observer 3 years, 5 months ago

The right of these men of the cloth to preach their brand of inequality is NOT greater than the right of a man to pass citizenship to his progeny. Please, understand brothers, to deny this right to be exercised by a male citizen of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is to perpetuate youth rebellion against legitimate authority. Pray again about your decision.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 5 months ago

I know of some one who was given Bahamian citizenship, because his Father was a Bahamian. The Immigration department did not understand the law. and I am sure there are other instances when this was done. Georges said there may be an uprising , He is only confirming that Haitians and their off springs not all but to many beleive in violence. We do rememver Allie and what he had to say.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

When Bahamians (We the People) have all 38 MP (and all senior government officials)assets/liabilities for the past FIVE years on public record (fully disclosed) ...... then we should led our support to any politician asking us for support or VOTE (including the referendum) ......... it is time that Bahamians start to play hardball with these slickers who call themselves our "leaders" .............. We (citizens) have one main source of power (our Vote)

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licks2 3 years, 5 months ago

It is so strange that there are so many calls for democracy and the "rights" of individuals and yet so much ranker about some "so called" backwards Muslims in disguise. . .WHO FOR THE LOVE OF PEET ARE EXCERCISING THOSE RIGHTS YINNA ARE ASKING EVERYBODY TO GIVE TO OTHERS?

Perhaps the problem in the Bahamas with inequality is WITH MOST OF YINNA AROUND HERE. . ."RAGGING DOWN" PERSONS FOR USING THOSE SAME RIGHTS YINNA WANT FOR GAYS AND FEMALES! EVERYBODY MUST SHUT THE HELL UP BACAUSE YOU DON'T "THINK" WHAT THEYR ARE SAYING IS PROPER? CHILD PLEASE!

Those pastors are Bahamians with constitutional rights to speak their minds freely. . .without fear of thought of what yinna think!! So just as yall are here talking "bad" about them. . .they have that same right to speak bad about gays, females or anybody else if they want to!

IT IS CALLED DEMOCRACY. . .YINNA WHO WILL NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO USE THEIR RIGHTS TO SPEAK. . .SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO SPEAK OR DO ANYTHING THAT YOU WILL NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO DO FOR THAT MATTER!

VOTE YA OWN DANG CONSCIENCE ON ALL 4 BILLS IF YA LIKE. . .BUT DON'T PERSUME TO TELL ME OR ANY CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED BAHAMIAN THEY MUST SHUT UP BECAUSE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING DON'T LINE-UP WITH YA THINKING!

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licks2 3 years, 5 months ago

Boy you "foaming" at the mouth right about now aye? But. . . YOU STILL REPRESENT INTOLORANCE AND BIGOTRY!! CARRY ON NOW!

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EasternGate 3 years, 5 months ago

I support the Pastors on this one

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

This "gender equality vote" thing goes very deep ........... far beyond our shallow belief that this is about Bahamian males and females ......... just research the word "gender" and you will get where the PLP Cabinet, the Attorney General, Fred Mitchell, Ruby Nottage, McSweeny and all of the Vote Yes surrogates are going with this ......... the ordinary Bahamian woman is being USED again for a sinister geo-political agenda of the LGBT ...... the LGBT is just as powerful as the Lodge, Illuminati and the Mafia

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hallmark 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree with sheeprunner 12 and I will vote no to all of the bills in protest. The biggest threat to eequality in this nation is our corrupt governments, not the constitution or pastors. The decisions will still be in their hands and if you are not one of their cronies, have the right connections, wear the right colours, or from certain privileged families, your applications for any of these so-called rights will still be denied or held up. Our MP's and their power hungry civil servant supporters are the biggest promoters of inequality.

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licks2 3 years, 4 months ago

Here is the real "jooking" for bill #4. . . the same thing is now happening in South America as well! The Caribbean is under "jooking up" too. . . look here:

Same-sex marriage is legal in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland. Marriage is a devolved issue in parts of the United Kingdom, and the status of same-sex marriage is different in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in July 2013 and came into force on 13 March 2014, and the first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014.

Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014 and took effect on 16 December 2014. The first same-sex marriage ceremonies occurred on 16 December 2014 for same-sex couples previously in civil partnerships. The first same-sex marriage ceremonies for couples not in a civil partnership occurred on 31 December 2014.

The Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions are treated as civil partnerships. A legal challenge to Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage is currently pending in the judiciary.

Of the fourteen British Overseas Territories and the three Crown dependencies, same-sex marriage is legal only in the Pitcairn Islands. The push is on for we turn ta change yall!

But we constitution presents a serious problem for them. . .THE PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO MAKE THE CHANGE. . .HENCE THE NEED FOR THE GOVERNMENT TRYING TO "TRICK" WE INTO CHANGING THE LAW! BILL #4 WILL MAKE SURE ANY CHALLAGE CASE GOES TO THE PRIVY COUNCIL. . .AND THE OUTCOME WILL BE AS ABOVE!

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

I am glad that someone else is beginning to see through the smoke and mirrors of the PLP LGBT agenda ............. we cannot afford to fall for a repeat of the gloss and glitter of the PLP 2012 campaign slogans again

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

The sad thing about our elite pastors is that they operate just like the old Jewish Sanhedrin of the Bible ........ in cahoots with the hated Roman government to muzzle the Messiah and his message ....... that is how the world has not changed

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themessenger 3 years, 4 months ago

Been following all this with interest the last couple of days and now I begin to understand the popular Bahamianism "bey you like man" because Bahamian man sure do luv dey self.

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