By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
PASTOR Cedric Moss yesterday accused Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson of bullying Bahamians into making a “blanket yes” vote in the upcoming gender equality referendum.
Pastor Moss said that Mrs Maynard-Gibson and the Progressive Liberal Party did not have a true moral voice in the referendum because of their stance against the failed 2002 referendum, noting the irony of the current situation.
“What is most ironic is that in 2002 when the current governing PLP was in opposition and voted for the 2002 Constitution Amendment Bills in Parliament,” he said in a statement, “they did an about face and led a blanket ‘vote no’ campaign against those bills.”
Pastor Moss added: “We have not forgotten that the current attorney general was a part of the then ‘vote no’ campaign. It is amazing that she and others who were a part of that ‘terrible shame’ back in the day are today lecturing voters who are minded to do in 2016 what they did in 2002.”
“We believe that the politically motivated blanket ‘no’ vote in 2002 was wrong, and a similar one would be doubly wrong 14 years later.”
The senior pastor at Kingdom Life Church was responding to Mrs Maynard-Gibson’s comments last week. The attorney general said it would be a “terrible shame” if Bahamians vote “no” to the constitutional referendum questions because of concerns that the fourth amendment would lead to legal same-sex marriage.
Pastor Moss argued that Mrs Maynard-Gibson should be taking the government to task over its unfair one-sided support of the YES Bahamas campaign, instead of berating voters over their valid concerns. Pastor Moss is leader of the Think Bahamas! group, which opposes three of the four referendum bills.
He said: “The attorney general should use those efforts to castigate the government for the grossly unfair manner in which it is abusing public funds for its one-sided, double dipping YES Bahamas campaign, while refusing to give any funding to the three official groups who oppose one or more of the Constitution Amendment Bills.
“This is yet another ‘terrible shame’ that seems to be conveniently overlooked,” said Pastor Moss.
The gender equality referendum will be held on June 7.
Think Bahamas only supports the first Constitutional Amendment Bill, which seeks to give Bahamian women who are married to foreign men the right to pass on their Bahamian citizenship to any child of that union no matter where that child is born.
Referring to controversial bill four, Pastor Moss accused the government of ignoring the public calls for it to adopt more protective measures outlined by the Constitutional Commission. He pointed to recommendation 25 of the commission’s report, which advised for language that would ensure legislation that prohibits same-sex marriage would not be considered inconsistent with constitutional rights on discrimination.
Pastor Moss said that the government’s failure to allay the public’s concern over same-sex marriage has increased fears.
“Further,” he said, “the government has stood idly by and ignored the cries of the Bahamian people to have a bill five that would give voters an opportunity to amend our Constitution to define marriage as a voluntary union between one man and one woman.
“Mrs Maynard-Gibson should therefore not be surprised at the pervasive same-sex marriage concerns of the Bahamian people; she has helped to fuel them.”