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Attorney Claims Constitutional Amendment Could Lead To Gay Marriage

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.ney

A LOCAL attorney said she is “eagerly” awaiting the government’s final wording on the “heavily debated” proposed gender equality constitutional referendum, as she stressed that the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill could lead to gay marriage.

Halsbury Chambers associate Mikia Cooper argued that so far the government has “downplayed” public concerns made by legal and religious communities over the fourth bill, which aims to remove gender discrimination from Article 26 of the Constitution.

Ms Cooper explained that the simple insertion of the word “sex” into Article 26 could grant legitimacy to same-sex unions. She said the outcome of the decision on this bill would present legal challenges and have far-reaching social, political and economic implications for the Bahamas.

“The Bahamas over the past few years has signed on to certain conventions and treaties that in many respects, pave the way for expanded LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) rights in the country.

“The Bahamian government, through its recent push toward gender equality further opened that door via one of the four questions prepared for a proposed referendum.”

She noted that some political opponents of the bill have called for bill four to be disregarded in its entirety while others have conceded that adjusting the wording to include the words “at birth” could make a difference in ensuring that the Matrimonial Causes Act cannot be overturned by a legal challenge.

According to Ms Cooper, while homosexuality is not illegal in the Bahamas, restrictions dictate that only consenting adults “in private” are permitted to indulge in such activities.

“I have no affiliation with any side of this argument, my point is that the government must realise that either way there are legal aspects that have to be discussed and determined,” she said in a statement released yesterday.

“Gender equality must be brought to the forefront but we have to understand exactly what all the broad topic of gender equality covers.”

The proposed referendum has been delayed four times. It was first expected in June 2013, to coincide with the country’s 40th anniversary of independence. It was then expected in November 2013, but it was later said the vote would happen by the end of June 2014.

Last summer, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced it would take place on November 6, 2014, but that date was delayed until some time this year due to pushback from some members of parliament about some of the Constitutional Amendment Bills.

Earlier this year, Mr Christie said he did not want to delay the vote any further. He said he hoped to hold the referendum in June. Constitutional Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney later told The Tribune he is doubtful a June date is possible.

Comments

birdiestrachan 5 years, 2 months ago

My mind is already made up I am voting N0 , the immigration department has enough problems, black logs ,false representation marriages for money and the list goes on why add to it.

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TruthHurts 5 years, 2 months ago

Go sit in a corner! You want your way and you can't have it, so you resort to name calling? Act like a child you'll be treated as one!

Bring a valuable argument to this grown up table!

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Girly 5 years, 2 months ago

Tell em Truth Hurts.The truth is really hurting him,lol.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 2 months ago

LGBT people, of course, should have the right to marry. Will it happen now, on its own? I don't know. But sneaking it in a gender equality referendum is not the way to do it. I forsee legal battles, on either side. Because, like other issues in our constitutuon, it will not be clearly defined. This would simply be adding confusion, when we should really be correcting any vague or outdated laws with clarity and consideration of our current situation.

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Observer 5 years, 2 months ago

Being "gay" is never a GENDER issue. It's role-playing. One is either Male Or Female, ie human being. Even in the role-playing, one assumes the woman part and the other assumes the man part. Isn't that so? With respect to marriage, the 'divine' purpose primarily is to be 'useful' from the point of view of industry and to procreate. You can't change that.

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bandit 5 years, 2 months ago

How you know about the role playing??? Are you in this type of relationship?? Just asking lmao

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 2 months ago

ikalik you use the same words as Lightbourn, calling human beings dinosaurs and hogs I suppose he is your mentor, Mean spirited and name calling, if that is the best you can do , then solider on.

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bandit 5 years, 2 months ago

We are all here talking about gay marriages and all this stuff. Where is the outrage to the amount of child abuse that is taking place in this country. Where is the outrage to the high number in incest that has been reported lately in the news. But as always we are so interesting in what adults are doing in the privacy of their homes. SMH

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duppyVAT 5 years, 2 months ago

The GAYS are chomping at the bits!!!!!!!!

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