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Weekend Nation – September 15, 2000

COMMENTS ONLY DISTORT THE ISSUE

I must applaud your paper for your continued bravery in ventilating the issues surrounding the proposal to include sexual orientation as a category for protection in any amended constitution.

I must also congratulate Mr. Sean Gooding for his forthright comments on the issue.

While his comments display the bravery of a bigot, he misses the entire argument. Mr. Gooding fails to realise that an emotive and passionate discourse is not appropriate since it only distorts the main issue.

His blind reproduction of ideas from columnists and other contributors has not allowed him to see that there has been no advocacy for a ‘gay rights law’, for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, marriage of homosexual couples, child adoption by homosexuals or artificial insemination by lesbians.

The contributors to this paper have sought to ask Barbadians to agitate for the inclusion in the constitution of ‘sexual orientation’ as a category. As has been exhaustively said, this inclusion is to guarantee the freedom of all Barbadians to practice their sexual orientation.

The inclusion would not promote homosexuality, impugn the Church or its teachings or seek to alter public opinion.

The passions that allow such uneducated ideas can only be jettisoned through the enlightenment evidenced in articles like the Jeff Cumberbatch’s Musings of Monday September 4, 2000 in another section of the press. I urge him to continue and challenge other academics to enter this discourse.

It is certain that the constitutional cannot see discrimination only in terms of those who historically have been discriminated against. While the circumstances are different for each party, the dangerous genus is the same.

Unfortunately Mr. Gooding, that danger exists when you say ‘the wider society does not have to accept or condone the practice’. It is the same thought pattern, the refusal to accept difference, that made us legislate for the protection of women, the mentally and physically challenged and the elderly.

All forms of discrimination all start with the dangerous thought you breed - luckily we don’t have to accept it.

Equality at law is the preserve of every living human being and it is the only place we can guarantee equal opportunities and fairness for all.

The logic in ‘No to gay rights’ is quite similar to the character Shylock in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

While the law may presently provide a means to perpetuate hated and prejudice, beware of the outcomes, they may not always be what you expect.

- Charles Brown

Barbados Gays & Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD)

 

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