By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
SAVE Our Bahamas, the group advocating for a “no” vote on bill four during the upcoming gender equality referendum, has stressed that it was “never” against equal rights for men, women or children.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the group said it was of the belief that the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill would not provide constitutional equality as prescribed by the bill’s supporters.
The group is also urging pastors to attend its forum on the referendum at Evangelistic Temple this morning.
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.
As currently worded, bill four seeks to eliminate discrimination in the Constitution based on sex, which has been defined as being “male or female,” by inserting the word “sex” into Article 26.
The pastors associated with Save Our Bahamas have contended that terms “sex” and “being male or female” allows for various interpretations of the phrase.
Moreover, the group has said it has long petitioned for the incorporation of a marriage clause within the Constitution that would mandate that marriages only occur between “a man and a woman.”
The group has also agitated for the government to include the words “born male” and “born female” into the fourth bill, suggesting that the phrases would further provide the necessary protection against same-sex marriage.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has said that the controversial amendment would not lead to same-sex marriage, arguing that by law – under the Matrimonial Causes Act - marriage in the Bahamas must be between a man and a woman, implying the new amendment would not change that.
On Tuesday, another group of religious leaders, including Bishop Neil Ellis of Global United Fellowship of Churches; Bishop Laish Boyd of the Anglican Diocese and Archbishop Patrick Pinder of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, insisted that they too were initially critical of the fourth bill and inclined to reject it; but after an exhaustive consultation process that involved amending the bill, they now unequivocally support it.
Save Our Bahamas consists of Mario Moxey, senior pastor of Bahamas Harvest Church; Lyall Bethel, pastor 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 group hosted the first in a series of prayer sessions in Rawson Square Monday evening, furthering its vote “no” platform.
The prayer meetings are expected to continue up to the June 7 equality vote.