By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
BISHOP Walter Hanchell has commended Bahamians for their rejection of the four Constitutional Amendment Bills, charging that their “no” vote effectively opposed the “plans and schemes” to “bring The Bahamas in line with other nations as it relates to LGBT rights.”
Bishop Hanchell, chairman of the group Citizens for Justice (CFJ), in a statement on Friday said the gender equality referendum failed because Bahamians are “intelligent, alert, informed” to know “exactly what is happening around the globe with regards to the gay agenda and United Nations conventions on human rights and gender equality”.
He said the referendum on gender equality was essentially the government’s submission to “the dictates of the United Nations in their demands to have our Constitution amended to accommodate their conventions.”
Bishop Hanchell also said the Christie administration, as well as members and supporters of the YES Bahamas campaign should “apologise” to the Bahamian people.
Bill four, the most controversial of the four Constitutional Amendment Bills, was rejected by the largest percentage of voters in last Tuesday’s referendum. Bills one, two and three, which dealt with issues of citizenship, were also overwhelmingly rejected.
In the results that were initially released, the no vote more than doubled the yes vote across all four questions in most cases.
“We commend persons from throughout the nation who realised that we are in a spiritual battle and opposed the plans and schemes to bring the Bahamas in line with other nations as it relates to LGBT rights,” Bishop Hanchell said in his statement. “As stated before and confirmed, the referendum was clearly about the Bahamas government submitting to that dictates of the United Nations in their demands to have our Constitution amended to accommodate their conventions.
“We believe that the main focus of the government was the passage of bill four. The other three bills were not retroactive and would not benefit persons already affected with citizenship concerns. Each of the bills was flawed.”
Bishop Hanchell also said in light of Tuesday’s failed referendum, future administrations should conduct an opinion poll “to find out what the people would like changed in our Constitution”.
“The people should never be taken for granted or treated as unenlightened fools or called dumb and stupid ever again,” he added. “The government, members of the YES campaign and some pastors, who support the government, should apologise to the Bahamian people and never make that mistake again. Bahamians are intelligent, alert and informed and know exactly what is happening around the globe with regards to the gay agenda and United Nations conventions on human rights and gender equality.”
He added: “(CFJ) will continue to be watchdogs and gatekeepers to ensure that righteousness and family values are upheld and maintained in The Bahamas and will oppose any forces that attempt to remove the ancient landmarks.”
The first bill sought to give Bahamian women 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.
Bill two would have allowed a Bahamian woman married to a foreign man the right to secure for her husband the same access to Bahamian citizenship as a Bahamian male has in relation to his foreign wife.
Bill three sought to grant any unmarried Bahamian man the right to pass on his Bahamian citizenship to any child he fathers with a foreign woman with proof of paternity.
Bill four sought to prevent discrimination of any type based on sex - being defined as being born male or born female.