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Ag Seeks To Ease Same-Sex Fears

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

AMID growing concern that the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill could lead to same-sex marriage if passed in next month’s referendum, the Office of the Attorney General released a statement last night to allay those fears.

The statement said it is not possible for judges to interpret bill four as giving people the legal right to same-sex marriage in the future.

“While it is the role of judges to interpret the Constitution and statutes, they must do so according to established legal rules,” the statement said.

“They are not free to ignore the language of the amendment or the will of Parliament.

“In the case of amendment four, Parliament made sure to define ‘sex’ as ‘male or female’, so no future court could interpret ‘sex’ as ‘sexual orientation’.

“And members of Parliament stated on the record, repeatedly, that their only intent in passing these amendments was to give men and women equal rights.”

The fourth bill seeks to end discrimination based on sex from the Constitution, by inserting the word “sex” into Article 26. However several groups, pastors and even politicians oppose this bill and have accused the government of trying to advance the gay “agenda” under the guise of gender equality. The other three bills deal with issues of citizenship.

In response to the argument that amendment four could be used to “overrule the Bahamian law that says marriage is between a man and a woman”, the statement from the Office of the Attorney General said this bill cannot change the Matrimonial Causes Act.

“The Matrimonial Causes Act says that in the Bahamas, in order to be legal, a marriage must be between a man and a woman. Nothing in amendment four could or would change this law.

“Amendment four would prevent new laws and action by the state that discriminates against men and women, but it would not affect the Matrimonial Causes Act because it is a pre-independence law that was expressly ‘saved’ by the Constitution. Article 26(4)(c) of our Constitution states that the non-discrimination provisions of Article 26 do not apply to laws from before 1973.”

Some staunch opponents of bill four believe if a case in support of gay marriage is taken through the courts all the way to London’s Privy Council, this country’s highest court of appeal, the English court would rule in the favour of same-sex marriage.

However, the statement dismissed this theory as well.

“Although nearly every country in the Commonwealth already has the right to non-discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’ in their Constitutions, the Privy Council has never interpreted this provision to create a right to same-sex marriage in any of those countries for which it remains the final court of appeal.

“All countries in the Commonwealth that do allow same-sex marriage have very different constitutional provisions from the Bahamas or passed specific laws permitting it.”

The statement also addressed worry that the fourth bill would allow transgender people to marry those of the same gender they were assigned with at birth.

“Sex in amendment four is defined as ‘male or female,’ and that means male or female at birth. There are settled cases in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth that state that the law only recognises a person’s sex at birth for the purposes of marriage. Thus, a person born a male cannot marry another person born a male. What matters is what is on your birth certificate.”

The Office of the Attorney General urged people to attend the public information sessions being conducted by the Constitutional Commission.

The referendum is set for June 7.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 5 months ago

Re-post: No righted minded Bahamian would ever a trust a word coming out of the mouth of the Wicked Witch of the West. The corruption running rampant in our country today is directly attributable to this despicable woman's failure to discharge the duties of her office as Attorney General. Let's also not forget that Allyson Maynard-Gibson was instrumental in covering up (for well over a year) the report that proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the good people of Marathon continue to be poisoned by the highly toxic fumes and deadly contaminated water resulting from the huge gasoline leak that occurred at a Rubis/Texaco service station. This detestable uncaring creature showed she was content to sit back and let Bahamians die. Bottom line: She is all for herself and only herself and can never be trusted. Here are the facts Maynard-Gibson doesn't want voters to know. The amendment proposed by Bill#4 would prevent discrimination of any kind based on the word "sex" which means our parliamentarians would then be free to legislate same-sex marriages with the simple stroke of their pen. This is why the corrupt Christie led-PLP government and the detestable likes of Sean McWeeney, Rubie Nottage, Sharon Wilson, etc. have steadfastly refused to draft a proposed amendment that would unequivocally define "marriage" as the legal union through wedlock of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all other forms of union whether they be between man and man, woman and woman, man and sheep and woman and sheep. The Bahamas is not America; we have our own culture and identity and the vast majority of Bahamians want our constitution to be amended in a way that would respect and protect the institution of marriage as we have known it for centuries. Most Bahamians now know they need to do the right thing and vote a resounding "NO" on June 7th to all four of the proposed amendments given that each of them contains serious flaws of one kind or another that would prove most harmful to our society and way of life.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 5 months ago

Our Attorney General, the Wicked Witch of the West (Allyson Maynard-Gibson), is quite content to put poor Bahamians in Fox Hill Prison for years if caught stealing (because they cannot find a job) to buy medicine or food for themselves or their sick or hungry young children, but she does not prosecute the political elite of the PLP and their business cronies when it is clear they have broken the laws of our country. Instead she goes out of her way to protect the political elite of the PLP and their business cronies no matter what crimes they may have committed. We have fellow Bahamians in Fox Hill prison today for having stolen small amounts of money or goods as the only possible means of obtaining food or medicine for themselves or their very young children. They sadly could not get one of those many jobs that had been promised by the PLP and more likely lost the job they had because of the manner in which the corrupt Christie-led PLP government has run our economy right into the ground. Yet all around us we see the political elite of the PLP and their business cronies stealing from the Bahamian people by way of massive fraud and corruption, but, thanks to the Wicked Witch of the West, none of them ever get prosecuted for their major crimes. The evil devious Maynard-Gibson, as Christie's favourite puppet, is clearly someone not to be trusted by the Bahamian people

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 5 months ago

Re-post: Just look at how the Wicked Witch of the West talks down to her perceived lowly Bahamian underlings, including Minnis! She is all too quick to say there is a proper process to be followed before she can proceed to prosecute members of Parliament for violating the Public Disclosure Act (the "Act") but she refuses to tell us what that process is. She also says the call for her to prosecute the admitted (self-confessed) violators of the Act has not come “from the proper people from whom it should commence." What she will next proudly and cutely proclaim to all of us, as her perceived underlings, is that her hands are tied because it takes a majority vote of the sitting MPs in a duly convened session of the House of Assembly to instigate and bring about the prosecution of violators under the Act. Now what's the chance of that ever happening while the corrupt Christie-led PLP government control a majority of the seats in the House of Assembly. Or perhaps she will tell us that only our Governor-General (Lady Poodling) can initiate and cause the violators to be prosecuted; and, once again, we know there's no chance in hell of that ever happening. Come on you Wicked Witch, just tell your underlings why you are so smugly secure in doing absolutely nothing yourself to uphold the laws of our country. Many of your perceived underlings believe you need a good smacking by that self-righteous broom you ride around on!

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 5 months ago

Still waiting for my question to be answered Madam AG......... Will the government move to define marriage (as a legal union between a natural born male and female) in the Constitution?? ........ if the answer is NO ........ then Vote NO on June 7th.

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SP 4 years, 5 months ago

The only thing Bahamians "Seeks To Ease" are PLP re-election Fears

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TruePeople 4 years, 5 months ago

Ya bey, gays dem don't scare me... but what the future holds under the PLP (or FNM... or ____) really does....

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