A Letter to the Editor by Archbishop Drexel W. Gomez
“NO” VOTE HAS NOT REFUTED POINTS MADE IN 2, 4 and 5 in letter!
I was born and raised in the Bahamas in which discrimination was the order of the day. I therefore support efforts to eliminate discrimination as contained in the four Amendment Bills.
Bills 1, 2 and 3 identify existing unfair and unjust provisions in our Constitution and offer corrections of these unquestioned deficiencies based on the principle of equality before the law for all Bahamians, both male and female.
Bill number 4 deals with two issues related to discrimination in the law. Firstly, Bill Four provides for the inclusion of “sex” in the present discriminatory list in Article 26 of the constitution. Secondly, Bill Four seeks to prevent Parliament from enacting any law in the future that discriminates on the basics of being “male or female.”
As Bahamians conscientiously examine these provisions in preparation for the Referendum vote they should seek clarity on the following five points as they relate to Bill Four:
1) They should read the Bill and draw conclusions on what it actually says, as opposed to relying on ‘hearsay’.
2) They should be clear about the meaning of “sex” as presented in Bill Four. In the Bill, “sex” refers to our biological status, at birth, based on the biblical biological distinction between male and female revealed in Genesis 1: 27. Bill four, like the Bible, does not address “sexual orientation” although the bible consistently condemns and denounces “homosexual acts”.
3) They must be clear that Bill four does not offer any change in the present legal provisions on marriage. These provisions prohibit same-sex marriage and offer Parliament protection to discriminate in its legislation in several areas, including marriage.
4) They must be clear that any legal attempt to use the provision of Bill four to legally introduce same-sex marriage into Bahamian law must overcome Article 26: (4) (c) which serves as a legal “fire wall” protecting the institution of marriage and prohibiting same-sex marriage in the Bahamas. Bahamians should also be aware that, the present debate on Bill four has not yet produced any legal reasons to indicate how Bill four gives support for the removal of the existing “firewall” provided by Article 26: (4) (c). I firmly believe that our existing “firewall” provides adequate protection against the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Bahamas.
5) Concerns in respect of the universal movement to legalize same-sex marriage are understandable in our present context. However, on the basis of my participation in the homosexual dialogue both at the level of the World Council of Churches in Geneva and in my leadership role in the Inter-Anglican dialogue, I have not encountered any instance in which the legal victory for same-sex marriage was based on biology, on being “male and female”. In fact, the acknowledged homosexual ideology is based on the declared irrelevance of being “male and female”. Rather, they insist that any two persons, as a human right, are entitled to “marriage”. I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that the homosexual community in the Bahamas would abandon their hitherto successful legal strategy, based on human rights, for a legal strategy based on biology, being “male or female”.
I have concluded, on the basis of the position offered above, that a “Yes” vote for Bill four does not pose a threat to the institution of marriage nor does it open any legal door to the legalization of same sex marriage in the Bahamas.
Drexel W. Gomez…..