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LGBTQI issue not a new battle

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Archbishop of Port-of-Spain wrote that “the Church does not agree with keeping buggery as a criminal offence. Buggery is a serious moral offence, but it should not put someone in prison for 25 years.”

However, he also wrote that “I know a major objection is that repealing the buggery laws will open the door to same sex marriage. These may well be strategies that are tied together. We need to deal with them separately. We will oppose same sex marriage in every way possible.”

I hope the Archbishop will eventually understand that the two are closely intertwined.

It is only a matter of time before the issues of “rights” and “discrimination” are used to try and legalise same sex marriage in T&T.

This is not a new battle. Almost 25 years ago, former government minister Mervyn Assam spoke about the pressures being brought to bear, on the then Basdeo Panday government, by external forces, to make our laws more gay friendly.

Readers should download Justice Rampersad’s 58-page decision. It makes for very informative reading.

While many are rejoicing, cooler heads are trying to get people to understand that there is still a long way to go before our laws are changed. The final step is for a 3/5 majority of our Parliament to repeal the relevant sections.

There is a key issue that many are missing in this argument.

Members of the LGBTQI movement are putting their “sexual orientation” front and centre in their arguments. This is going to have serious repercussions for employers, in the future.

The majority of employers in T&T do not ask about someone’s sexual orientation in an interview. They are more concerned with finding the best person for the job.

There are many open or closeted LGBTQI people who work for companies in T&T, with little or no problems. This does not deny the fact that there are some employers who openly discriminate.

Going forward, it is quite possible that employers will now be faced with applicants who state, before an interview, that they are gay. This has nothing to do with the job for which they applied.

Can an employer be sued for not hiring an openly gay person?

The answer lies in the fact the Equal Opportunities Commission was listed as an interested party in the case of Jason Jones v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.



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