Leading Jamaican Newspaper Endorses Marriage Equality

Published: June 5, 2014

One of Jamaica’s leading daily newspapers called for the elimination of the country’s ban on marriage equality and its law criminalizing sodomy in an editorial published Thursday.

The Jamaica Gleaner wrote that Section 28 of the country’s Charter of Fundamental Rights of Freedom, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, “represents an assault on the principle of equality of people; people’s right to forge relationships … and their right to equal protection under the law. Indeed, a denial of these human rights is also an attack on the dignity of individuals who are prevented from the public expression of the powerful human emotion of love within the sanctity of marriage, although same-sex couples could well give the institution a shot in the arm.”

The editorial argued that Section 28 is “a provision that has its foundation in a deep-seated, if slowly receding, homophobia that has caused us to maintain the buggery provisions, which, essentially, criminalise male homosexuality and allows the State the role of commissar of sexual preferences and to invade the privacy of people’s bedrooms.”

The editorial comes as a case is pending before the country’s supreme court challenging the sodomy law, put in place by the United Kingdom when Jamaica was a British colony. Religious conservatives have mounted an intense campaign to keep the law in place, including bringing in anti-LGBT activists from the United States and Britain to bolster support for the provision. The island has also seen a rash of mob violence targeting people perceived to be LGBT, which has contributed to a problem of homelessness among LGBT youth.

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