The Barbados Advocate – December 17, 2000
PUTTING A CASE FOR FREEDOM OF CHOICE
In my previous assertion for equal rights before the law, I was sure it was made clear that morality was too fickle a barometer by which to gauge the legality of state approved discrimination.
It was also well enunciated that the right to express ones freedom of choice with respect to sexual orientation deserved the same treatment as the protections afforded against discrimination on the grounds of political opinions or creed.
These were obviously lost on Carol Marshall who in her November 20 diatribe in the other daily, gives a clear example of why legal prescriptions need to be enacted. We need to protect our diverse citizenry from the authoritarian and dictatorial leanings of people. She may next be questioning the morality of a whine for Crop Over.
Ms. Marshall, like many before her, manipulates American figures to solidify her weak arguments. It is true that BGLAD (Barbados Gays & Lesbians Against Discrimination) has illustrated its case via examples from metropolitan countries that have advanced the human rights agenda of all their people. This is not, however a license for persons like Ms. Marshall to suggest that we seek to transform Barbados into what her questionable statistic portray.
For your education, please note the following:
In Jamaica, between 1992 and 1998 the number of AIDS cases reported by category were such that 73 cases were bisexual males, 63 cases were homosexual males, one case was an IV drug user, 3 cases were hemophiliacs and 1 172 cases were heterosexuals.
Here in Barbados, between 1994 and 1998, 57 cases were bisexual males, 122 were homosexual males, none were IV drug users, one case was a hemophiliac and 722 cases were heterosexuals.
In Trinidad and Tobago, 170 cases were bisexual males, 298 were homosexual males, three cases were IV drug users, two cases were hemophiliacs and 1 418 were heterosexuals.
Whose lifespan appears to be shorter now, Ms. Marshall? Among which category is the prevalence of AIDS higher, Ms. Marshall? The figures suggest you may be in for a rude awakening.
Alfred North Whitehead, an English philosopher and mathematician said: "What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike."
I urge Ms. Marshall and all that hold strong views to agitate with your parliamentary representatives to make this a discussion for a referendum.
It is not sufficient that a panel of men and women with their own views should reject a submission that affects the lives of many Barbadians. It is time we vote and decide what the majority decree morality and determine how morality should shape law.
Barbados Gays & Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD)