Reprinted from Caribbean360.com
The Bahamas: A group of pastors have come together to campaign against a constitutional amendment that they say will pave the way for same-sex marriage in The Bahamas.
But government’s Yes Bahamas campaign says there is no basis for the concern, and argued that opposing the amendment is tantamount to “a rejection of equal rights for our sons and daughters”.
The pastors have formed a group called ‘Save Our Bahamas’ – similar to the campaign launched ahead of the 2013 referendum on gambling – that strongly opposes the fourth proposed amendment in the June 7 referendum.
The referendum addresses four amendments. The first would allow children born abroad to obtain Bahamian citizenship from either their Bahamian father or mother, in circumstances where the other parent is not Bahamian. Amendment two would enable a Bahamian woman who marries a non-Bahamian man to secure for him the same ability to apply for Bahamian citizenship currently afforded to a Bahamian man married to a non-Bahamian woman.
The change outlined in amendment three would mean that an unmarried Bahamian man could pass on his Bahamian citizenship to a child fathered with a non- Bahamian woman, if he is able to provide DNA evidence that he is the father; while the fourth amendment would update Article 26 of the Constitution, so that it would become unconstitutional for Parliament to pass any laws that discriminate based on sex.
Pastor Mario Moxey, one of the Save Our Bahamas leaders, says the reason the group is focusing on amendment number four is “because we feel that it opens the door to same-sex marriage and, as a result of that, it is a moral issue”.
But in a statement issued late yesterday, the Yes Bahamas campaign said the facts do not support Moxey’s belief.
“The Constitution of The Bahamas prohibits racial and religious discrimination in Article 26. The proposed amendment (#4) would ensure that the same Article also prohibits discrimination against men or women. That would simply mean that men and women cannot be treated less favourably than the other under any law or act by public officials and that Parliament would be prevented from passing new laws that would discriminate against men or women,” it contended.
“Any suggestion that giving men and women equal rights would somehow lead to same-sex marriage does not have any basis in fact or law. The lawyers who drafted Amendment Four went out of their way to guide future courts, by defining ‘sex’ as ‘male or female’, so that no judge could interpret ‘sex’ as ‘sexual orientation’.”
It further stressed that Bahamian law specifies that marriage must be between a man and a woman.
“We are leading this campaign for our sons and daughters, for our grandsons and our granddaughters. We want them to grow up in a Bahamas in which they are offered the same rights in the Constitution and the same protections under the law,” the Yes Bahamas campaign insisted.