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Yes Campaign Hits Out At Rival Pastors

THE Yes Bahamas campaign yesterday hit out at a “small group of pastors” who oppose the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill, calling their stance “a rejection of equal rights for our sons and daughters.”

In a statement released last night, the Yes Bahamas campaign said the facts do not support the religious leaders’ claims that bill four would lead to gay marriage.

The statement came a day after the Save Our Bahamas Committee, the same group that opposed the 2013 gambling referendum, launched a campaign against the fourth bill.

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.

However, supporters of the referendum strongly refute this argument.

“The Yes Bahamas campaign notes with interest that a small group of pastors have come together to campaign against bill four. This is tantamount to a rejection of equal rights for our sons and daughters.

“Pastor Mario Moxey is quoted as saying ‘The reason why we’re focused on bill number four is that we feel it would open the door to same-sex marriage’.”

“The pastor may ‘feel’ that way, but the facts do not support him,” Yes Bahamas’ statement said.

“The Constitution of the Bahamas prohibits racial and religious discrimination in Article 26. The proposed amendment, number four, would ensure that the same Article also prohibits discrimination against men or women. That would simply mean that men and women cannot be treated less favourably than the other under any law or act by public officials and that Parliament would be prevented from passing new laws that would discriminate against men or women.”

The statement added: “Bahamian men and women have the same responsibilities as citizens; they should have the same rights as well.

“Any suggestion that giving men and women equal rights would somehow lead to same-sex marriage does not have any basis in fact or law. The lawyers who drafted amendment four went out of their way to guide future courts, by defining ‘sex’ as ‘male or female,’ so that no judge could interpret ‘sex’ as ‘sexual orientation.’”

The statement added that Bahamian law specifies that marriage must be between a man and a woman, under the Matrimonial Causes Act, Section 21(1)(c), stressing that the proposed amendment would not change this.

“This law is specifically exempted by Article 26 (4) of the Constitution from being in conflict with the non-discrimination provision of Article 26, and is also saved by Article 30 as a pre-existing law from being incompatible with any constitutional rights. Thus, the Constitution already recognises that marriage can only be the union of one man and one woman,” the statement said.


Save Our Bahamas consists of Pastor Mario Moxey of Bahamas Harvest Church; Pastor Lyall Bethel of Grace Community Church; Minister Kevin Harris; Alfred Stewart, senior pastor at New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church; and Geoffrey Wood, senior pastor of Temple Baptist Church.

The referendum is set for June 7.

Comments

sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

Government-funded operatives vs civil society ............. no justice, no democracy ....... that is the PLP way ........... remember ZNS back in the day???????

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baclarke 3 years, 10 months ago

The main reason why this fight is so hard for the government is because they have lost the trust of the people. When the people do not trust you, how do you expect them to trust what your intentions are? You steal and misuse our money, did not listen to the will of the people on the last referendum, what to throw more taxes on us(NHI), and blatantly acknowledge your corruption. Now you want us to accept these constitutional changes?

Regardless, i do not have a problem with the majority of the bills. Even the last one is not a big deal in my opinion. But, i do not believe the last one is necessary if you have already identified areas of inequality. Why have a "catch all" that can still be left up to interpretation? The interesting thing about language and is that the meaning changes as time passes and therefore the interpretation can also change. In reference to gay marriage, if this last bill passes or not, it doesn't matter, as marriage is not defined in our constitution. Law makers can choose to amend the marriage act as they see fit, without our consultation. That's my 5 cents on the matter. As for pastors preaching vote yes or vote no in relation to what God wants, I always remember what he told the prophet Samuel when Isreal wanted their first King, "Give the people what they desire". God will allow us to make our own choices in how we govern ourselves, but just know that all decisions come with consequences whether good or bad. His main concern is the state of the heart, not the vote on the equality bill.

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Zakary 3 years, 10 months ago

You make some good points, the people definitely do not trust the Government, and with the funding scenario of the “Yes” campaign, it makes them even more suspicious. It did make me laugh when the “No” campaign requested funds from the Government, because that’s ingenious.

  • Why have a "catch all" that can still be left up to interpretation?

If anything, this is where most of the discussion exist and why many still find it questionable. What are the possible future implications of the fourth bill acting as a catch all?

It can only suggest that there are other inequalities inherent in our laws or perceived inequalities of the future that they do not want to be left to another constitutional amendment. Whatever the nature of those future inequalities and interpretations can be anyone’s theory. I’ll be long gone by then. The people will decide either way.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

If there is no more sex discrimination, then how can you justify not allowing same-sex marriage???????? ........... If marriage is not defined in the Constitution, then how can a lesser law be used as the standard when there is no longer sex discrimination in the Constitution ?????? ......... the Vote YES operatives will not answer these questions

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 10 months ago

Support amendment 4. The Bahamas - with its history of slavery - should be the last place where human rights would be opposed.

I guess now that people have their rights in place, they can comfortably take away the rights of others.

Amazing.

Perhaps another 100 years of slavery is needed to remind people of how terrible a time of not having rights was.

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baclarke 3 years, 10 months ago

I am wondering if their really is a difference between discrimination based on sex, and discrimination based on sexual preference. This is probably why those who are against gay marriage believe that amendment 4 is questionable.

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justthefactsplease 3 years, 10 months ago

It would be interesting to see where these same pastors stood in the 2002 referendum. I wonder how many of them would be exposed as hypocrites if their position then were to be made known. Tribune...do you have any record of their positions back then?

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baclarke 3 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't matter, all of us, including the church are allowed to change our opinions/positions after a period of time, especially 14 years later...

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