Bishop says gay marriage row is a red herring


Rev Laish Boyd


Tribune Staff Reporter


CONCERNS that one of the government’s proposed Constitutional Amendment Bills will open the door to same-sex unions is “a red herring,” Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd said this week during his address at the 113th Anglican synod.

Announcing his full support for the proposed constitutional amendments, Bishop Boyd said assertions that bill number four will open the door to gay marriage have not been well supported by those making the argument.

“A number of persons have expressed a sincere concern about the passage of amendment four, which seeks to make it unlawful to discriminate against a Bahamian based on sex, ie, whether he/she is male or female,” he said. “The concern is that this has the possibility of opening the door to same-sex unions. With the greatest respect to those who hold this view, I cannot see how this can be so, nor have I heard any argument that spells out how it can be so. Having fears and concerns is one thing, but do we deny tens of thousands their rights based on ‘what ifs’? I do not think so. These amendments are about establishing gender equality and seek to equalise the means of transmitting citizenship. What the introduction of the talk about same-sex marriage does is, (it has) the effect of steering the discussion into matters that simply do not arise. I consider it to be a red herring.”

During his wide-ranging address which saw him touch on such issues as crime, gambling and immigration, Bishop Boyd noted that the move toward enshrining equal rights in the Constitution for men and women continues to be complicated by delays.

In July, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the long-awaited referendum would be held on November 6. However, the vote has been delayed until sometime next year.

Added Bishop Boyd: “I wish to say upfront that I support the four amendments and intend to vote in favour of them. As bishop of the diocese I am not telling anyone how to vote; persons must vote their conscience. I do urge all citizens to be informed on the issues and then make an informed choice.”

Although he noted that Bahamians are sensitive about citizenship issues, Bishop Boyd said people should “grow up” and adopt more mature views on the issue.

“I am of the opinion that a lot of us simply need to grow up and come into the real world. We cannot have different strokes for different folks, ie, different rules for men and women,” he said. “Thousands of persons are disfranchised and traumatised because of this. Families we all know and love are in anguish and turmoil – and it is not right. And, truth-be-told, a lot of the phobia against persons obtaining Bahamian citizenship that is surfacing in this current referendum process has to do with our prejudice against Haitians and Jamaicans in particular, and foreigners in general, and about our fear of foreign nations overrunning this country.”

He continued: “Many have expressed the view that, for this reason, they do not want to support the amendments. Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that Bahamian citizenship should be given away at whim or that those who are not eligible should receive it by false pretences. I am certainly a proponent of Bahamian sovereignty and would not want my Bahamas to be overrun by anyone from the outside. See (the bills) as they fundamentally are: an attempt to bring justice and equality to our sons, daughters and grandchildren who desire to have their children and spouses qualify for the same rights that the other gender does.”

Bishop Boyd said he wants the government to comprehensively address the problem whereby some who legitimately apply for citizenship wait for a long time to be processed.

He said discussion should take place about establishing a path that would lead certain people to be regularised.

“There are thousands of persons who have been in this country for decades, some of them all of their lives, many who know no other country,” he said. “If we are going to be just and fair, there must be a discussion about a path to regularisation and even citizenship for some of these persons. This is a difficult subject and one fraught with emotion and passion, but, fellow citizens, let us be honest: the circumstances I describe already exist. This country has benefitted from the presence of undocumented or unregularised persons from many countries over the decades. We know that the largest group is from Haiti, and we know that many of them have made a tremendous contribution to this country. Among any grouping – Bahamians included – you will find bad apples and those injecting negativity. But do not be fooled. Our situation is already what it is; no point pretending that we can go back to 1960 or 1940. What is is what is. Now, therefore, we must face that reality, catalogue and analyse the situation, give it study and discussion and come up with some paths forward that can withstand scrutiny and which find optimal ways to bring justice to people and to circumstances. Not all persons will be assisted as they wish to be, but at least there will be a policy established and various pathways laid down. Justice will not only be done but be seen to be done, and a rationale for the way forward would have been arrived at.”


mostsickandtired 8 years, 5 months ago

Thank you Reverend, you are a quiet voice of reason in a marketplace full of puffed up self righteous screamers. Yes we need to wake up and stop toting these half baked repressive notions that continues to bring this country down. We are supposed to be educated people and why equal rights for women is being connected to gay marriage, makes me realize the serious lack of critical analytical thinkers we have here in the Bahamas. These simpletons are in every walk of life - in parliament, in the church, in the business places, radio talk show hosts, everywhere! But thank you reverend and Bishop Gomez on his sensible stance on agreeing with legalizing webshops if casinos are already legalized (duh!)- you represent Christ and present a more favourable light on Christianity than you ever realize. Christ wants us to walk humbly and treat people fairly - and that Sir, is what you are trying to do.


DillyTree 8 years, 5 months ago

Bishop Boyd cuts through the nonsense. If only our government could do the same!

Really, it's not complicated, people! Tell you what, instead of the word "sex", which seems to have everyone in such an uproar, let's use the word "gender". Problem solved.

Now let's get a date for the referundum and support it!


henny 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree 100% with Rev. Boyd.


dehavmoss 8 years, 5 months ago

If everything was so clear cut. There is a reason why a lot of Bahamians at present are suspicious of this referendum. And there is a good reason why the government has not set the date.


pablojay 8 years, 5 months ago

He is one of the few "real" bishops whom i respect ,(we have more bishops than the U.S.),but according to some legal minds the wording of the amendment can be challenged and we must remember the Privy Council jammed us with the death penalty and we don't want it to happen again.


duppyVAT 8 years, 5 months ago

Our good Freemason Bishop should know something about red herrings!!!!!!!!!!!


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