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The Barbados Advocate – Friday October 13, 2000

SEXUAL ORIENTATION NO BASIS FOR DISCRIMINATION

Contrary to the views expressed by Carol Marshall in her letter entitled "Gays trying to mislead us" and published in the Daily Nation of Sept 27, 2000, no-one seeks to mislead, intimidate or silence anyone with respect to gay rights.

Gays in Barbados, like their counterparts around the world, merely seek to be treated as equals. What a person does in private and who he or she loves, should not and must not be used as an excuse to discriminate and deny that person of his or her right to be treated equally under the constitution of this country.

Michael Connelly, in his letter of August 17, 2000 in the Daily Nation indicated that we should not see the need for constitutional protection as a moral issue, as the inclusion of gay rights "in the fundamental freedoms of the constitution cannot equate to a rejection of the teachings of the church, neither can it be seen as a condonation of homosexuality.

He further stated "it merely affirms that we are all different and that no difference should be a tool of bigotry and discrimination within a civilised society such as ours".

I ask that Ms. Marshall consider this statement and recognise that the differences among humans have led to some of the worst crimes in history. Continued discrimination based on differences can only lead to more such atrocities occurring.

Ms. Marshall needs to also recognise that an individual’s ability to have children should not be used to measure his or her value and possible contribution to society. Gays and lesbians have made and will continue to make valuable contributions to all aspects of society, including Barbadian society.

Sexual orientation is indeed a private issue for the individual, but discrimination based on sexual orientation is and issue for the society at large to address and should be included in the constitution. I leave you with the words of dissenting Commissioner Newton of the Constitution Review Commission: " To include it is not to provide protection for a specific group of people; it is protecting the rights of all members of the community to be of a specific sexual orientation, to exercise freedom of choice with regard to sexual orientation and to avoid discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Barbados Gays & Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD)

Charles Brown


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