EDITOR, The Tribune.
As a trained lawyer and a strict constitutionalist, I will campaign for and support the passage of the first three of the proposed constitutional and gender equality bills. The fourth one, as it relates to the vague definition of ‘sex’ and its snide reference to gender, is the fabled Trojan Horse.
The proponents argue that ‘sex’ as defined in Article 15 of Bahamas Independence Order 1973 (our constitution) is outdated and a cause of potential conflict with bill four. They further argue that to leave such a reference in the constitution without specifically defining ‘sex’ or ‘gender’ as male and female, that there would be absolutely no chance for a litigant or counsel to successfully argue on appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (our final court of appeal) that this fourth bill, if ratified by referendum, opens the door to state-approved and church-sanctioned same-sex marriages.
This is a patently bogus legal argument and one which will, eventually, be challenged as prescribed above. As a constitutionalist it is my considered view that a submission and brief will be made that the provisions of bill four are discriminatory and in total conflict with Article 15. The argument will continue that ‘sex’ can be defined (amongst multiple other definitions available in the English language) as lesbian, homosexual, transgender and every other shade in between.
In the United Kingdom, same-sex civil marriage has the force of law and parties thereto are entitled to the full benefits and obligations of heterosexuals. Is it not reasonable to say that the Judicial Committee, composed of a handful of mostly senior British jurists, steeped in the ‘alternative lifestyle’ culture which has existed, publicly, in the UK for generations, that it would not rule in favour of the legalisation and recognition of same-sex unions or marriages?
Bill four is a mere election ploy by the Gold Rush and its misguided supporters that they are ‘righting’ the perceived gender inequality and offering ‘legal protection’ to all of our citizens. This posture is as far from the truth as East is from West. It is a concerted and badly considered tactic by this administration to ‘distract’ the collective attention from the dray load of economic and societal issues which plague our nation.
It is common knowledge that the ‘alternative lifestyle’ abounds in The Bahamas, especially in New Providence. No doubt the deviants are located in the other Family Islands. It is also stated that they have now infested our schools, churches, the halls of Parliament and, alas, in our very homes. This group of individuals forms a huge portion of the electorate and must be brought in ‘under the big tent’ or is it, into the closet?
I have no problems with the first three bills as they are simply ‘righting’ what should have been ‘righted’ a decade and more ago. In the distant past the PLP, led by Rip Van Winkle aka Perry Gladstone Christie, voted ‘yes’ to the constitutional bills brought by the then FNM administration led by Hubert Ingraham during the voting in the House of Assembly and the Senate. They all waxed eloquently in some cases and with complete gibberish in others about the necessity of a successful series of referenda.
Lo and behold, even before the PLP members could get into the public square, they all recanted and recalled their parliamentary support for the compendium of constitutional bills which were far more comprehensive and far reaching than these four jokey bills. As I have said, the first three bills are not ‘too bad’ and I will vote ‘yes’ to them. In respect to the Trojan Horse bill, number four, I will vote ‘no’ and urge all other right thinking, Christian grounded Bahamians, to do the same. This back door approach is systematic with the Gold Rush Administration.
I am a PLP and will do all in my power to ensure that the party is returned to office. As leader of The National Republican Alliance (ARENA) I am sometimes of the view that a coup should be launched against the current leader of the PLP who is leading us down a garden path. The ‘danger’ of this is that we PLPs cannot and must not be seen in public ‘fighting’ over political perks and ‘the pecking order’ the way they are done within the rapidly crumbling FNM.
There is, of course, no need to waste computer time or ink on the delusional DNA. That fringe group is incapable of attracting real live candidates to run on its ticket except those individuals who are, clearly, suicidal politically speaking.
In conclusion, I too, like the former Prime Minister, predict that whoever ‘wins’ the referenda will go on to win the general elections. It will be deja vu all over again. I urge you, my beloved fellow Bahamians, to vote ‘yes’ on the first three bills and a resounding ‘no’ to the fourth.
To God then, who made He male and female, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H BODIE JR
March 6, 2016.