PANCAP News-in the caribbean
The Church launches major offensive against efforts to legalise homosexuality
- Last Updated on Friday, 10 August 2012 21:45
- Published on Friday, 10 August 2012 21:45
- Hits: 332
The Christian community in Guyana has announced that it will be going all out in its efforts to block the passage of any legislation that would lead to the decriminalisation of same sex relations.
Several church bodies issued a statement on Thursday calling on the government to resist pressure to legalise same sex relations as the National Assembly prepared to debate a motion on that issue along with the abolition of corporal and capital punishment.
“As servants of the Living God, we implore you, Honourable Members of the Tenth Parliament of Guyana, not to pursue the decriminalisation of homosexuality. We are conscious of the political and economic pressure that you may experience or are experiencing and as such encourage you to preserve the sovereignty of our nation and … the integrity of family life which continues to be the bedrock of our society,” the statement read.
The motion, tabled by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, was sent to a parliamentary select committee where the views of the public would be heard in keeping with Guyana’s commitment to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
At a news briefing called by church groups on Thursday the media were subjected to a 10-minute film on the “ills” of homosexuality as documented in the US. When asked if there had been any investigation of the effects of same sex relations on the Guyanese society the response was that none was necessary.
“I don’t believe we need a scientific study of the impacts of strychnine or any other poisonous substance conducted by a community of rats for us to know that rat poison would kill that population; there are some things that it is better to learn by prevention rather than to attempt cure,” said Loris Heywood of the Georgetown Ministers Fellowship.
On the plans the church has to counter the “gay agenda” Desmond Rogers of the Caribbean Fellowship of Evangelical Students said they have started speaking to policy makers on both sides of the political divide and have started engaging citizens at sensitisation seminars in Georgetown and in other parts of the country.
“We are also contemplating several other moves including public mobilisation. We’ve also contemplated a quasi-referendum that we will do ourselves as a Christian community because we believe that that is something the nation must speak out on,” Rogers said.
He added that they have also considered approaching the United Nations to make the case that there is enough evidence to show that Guyanese “roundly reject homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle in this country.”
The Christian community has also started a public signature campaign for a petition which will be presented to the National Assembly urging it to do away with plans to decriminalise homosexuality. The church’s move is endorsed by the heads of the Christian denominations and the umbrella bodies the Georgetown Ministers Fellowship, the Guyana Evangelical Fellowship and the Guyana Council of Churches.
Speaking in parliament Thursday night Education Minister Priya Manickchand acknowledged that Guyana has signed on to international human rights conventions but pointed out that the country’s constitution provides leeway for how those rights are prescribed.
“Article 154 goes on to specifically say that these rights in these conventions shall be respected and upheld by the executive, the legislature, the judiciary and all organs and agencies of government … but sub-paragraph 3 specifically says that the state shall having regard to the socio-cultural level of the development of the society take legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve progressive realisation of the rights provided for …”
The parliamentary recess began on Friday and will end on October 10.