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U-Turn For Bran On Marital Rape Law

By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter sbrown@tribunemedia.net WHILE not personally agreeing with the marital rape law, DNA leader Branville McCartney said yesterday if elected he would "put it to the people". In what appeared to be a turnabout from his previously stated position on this issue, Mr McCartney said "like many other issues facing the country, the DNA believes this one can be resolved through mutual understanding and compromise". A statement from the party said: "Mr McCartney is convening a focus group of representatives from both clergy and women's rights activists in order to build consensus amongst the varying perspectives. "By facilitating a conversation where all voices can be heard, Mr McCartney hopes to develop a policy that will enforce our Christian values and protect women's rights. Our goal as a government is to ensure complete equity and equality for Bahamian women and complete protection of every civil, human and legal right as afforded men." However, while on the TV programme Citizen's Review, hosted by Erin Ferguson, Mr McCartney when asked if the Marital Rape Bill would be passed by the DNA government, replied: "No, sir. When you get married to a person you are one." The Bill introduced by the FNM would have a man imprisoned from seven years to life for having sex with his wife without her consent. Mr McCartney said that legislation of this magnitude cannot be rushed because of "international pressure". "I was a Cabinet member when this legislation was first introduced, and I saw first-hand how divisive this would be to the country. "Re-education to build awareness is required before making decisions that affect our country's Christian values. We can no longer rush legislation, because of international pressure without considering how it would affect our society," he said. "I object to Butler-Turner's assertion that this issue will eliminate the DNA from the political race, mainly because this party, unlike her own, are open to a discussion with women's rights activist, clergymen and others." Ben Albury, DNA candidate for Montagu said he believed Mr McCartney's comments were misunderstood. He said: "The party does not condone violence of any type and the party does not condone marital rape. "The problem is Mr McCartney spoke from the perspective of an attorney in that it is very difficult to prove rape between a husband and a wife. "When you get before a court and it's only husband and wife in the bedroom and the husband is saying one thing and the wife is saying the next and there was no witness, it makes it difficult. "To pass a law specifically for marital rape would be a great challenge for any administration."

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