Friday, October 30, 2015

LGBT Community Eyes More Than Conscience Vote (Gleaner)


After Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's broken promise to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community during the election campaign of four years ago, activists are, this time around, rooting for more than just a parliamentary vote. Dane Lewis, the executive director, The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), told The Gleaner that there is need for a defined strategy to address issues affecting the LGBT community.

"Despite the powerful statement by Simpson Miller in the leadership debate in 2011, we are yet to see any equally powerful or bold action taken by the Government to address the discrimination experienced by this marginalized population," he declared. Transgender activist F.J. Genus complained that "with the exception of a few, (politicians) held their tongue in silence and are more willing to augment the living conditions of those in our prisons than decriminalising acts that consenting adults, both gay and straight, might perform in their bedrooms."

Said human rights advocate Karen Lloyd: "While it is important for our elected officials to be proactive in ensuring that all citizens have equal access to state resources and are free from discrimination in all its forms, I don't believe a conscience vote is the best approach in our context and at this time."

Lewis noted that the rights of persons who identify as LGBT has always been a political issue around the world and is no different in Jamaica. After former Prime Minister Bruce Golding's "not in my Cabinet" declaration, seen as a rejection of LGBT practices, Simpson Miller promised a conscience vote on the eve of the December 2011 general election.

Lewis asserted that the LGBT community needs clear, articulate strategies on how the Government and Opposition intend to effectively address the community's concerns. This, he said, is based on some faith-based organisations launching what he described as a moral panic campaign against LGBT Jamaicans and their fundamental human rights.

According to Lewis, while there seems to be a "tireless" focus on laws, particularly the buggery law, this cannot be sufficient. He suggested that a societal shift is needed to cauterise the stigma that causes those who are LGBT to be disenfranchised, displaced, and discriminated against.

"This shift is important if we are to create an enabling environment for every Jamaican to reach their full potential and for making Jamaica a safer place for all to live, work, raise families, and do business," said Lewis.

MUST read:

also see my take from previous posts on the promise or suggestion listed below as you see it on the illusive conscience vote, JFLAG is still so lapse it is not funny I tell you and it took them so long to arrive at shifting from their original stance of a repeal to decriminalization of buggery. I still say we need to be careful what we wish for, conscience votes may become or used as the sure fire route for political parties to gain an extended foothold on power and play to the homo-negative environment as nicely displayed just days ago. Look at the fiasco happening in the Senate presently and politicization of a critical issue as the Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ. Also see: The line in the sand for the PNP part 10 : Buggery referendum & more CCJ

The JLP leader Andres Holness made it clear he is going the route of a referendum on buggery and the CCJ. Of course young Andrew is also pandering to the religious right and their supposed threat to vote out any government that amends or repeal the Buggery Law as it were. He said among other things in Western Jamaica recently:  “ ... You will also know that when it comes time to determine whether or not we should make any changes to the buggery act or to any other act that determines how Jamaicans see the family; you know that we are not going to take it upon ourselves in parliament to make that decision; we are going to come to you the people of the country to make that decision.” also see:  Opposition leader (JLP) reiterates his call for a referendum on Buggery .... 2014

now the for list as promised:
The Line in the Sand for the PNP ...... but vote ☐ PNP ☐ JLP ☑ Legalize Buggery in private

Mark Wignall ....... Gay Lobby will wait in vain from 2012 just after the election win by the PNP.
Interesting times lie ahead.

finally we must be reminded the PNP's press release in 2011


Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.
The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.

It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

also see some more older entries from this blog & Gay Jamaica Watch

What say you? as we watch the developments unfold. Bear this in mind as well, after digging my archives I found the presentation by Mrs Simpson Miller in 2009 (poor audio though) where she sided wholeheartedly with the then Prime Minster Bruce Golding (his speech linked) on the banning of gay marriage, gay marriage rights by the way was never asked for by the LGBT advocacy structure but it was dishonestly pushed on the agenda during the Charter of Rights debate then as a smoke screen to deny us recognition in the Charter. 

She said on October 20th 2009 - "Mr Speaker when we accepted the final report from the joint select committee that were looking at the bill we were completely satisfied with their recommendation of a provision to restrict marriage and like relationships to one man and one woman within Jamaica and that the provision should be specifically spelt out so that there could be no ambiguity .......... yes one man one woman (laughter in the house) and if you are Jamaican and go overseas the same applies ..........." 


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