By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Longstanding Politician and the woman with Presidential aspirations Dr. Faith Harding says if she had the Parliamentary influence or becomes the President of Guyana she will scrap anti-buggery laws that currently occupy the law books.
Dr. Harding was speaking as part of an expert panel at Painting the Spectrum, SASOD’s 10 LGBT film festival.
She believes it’s a matter of basic human rights that should be enjoyed by LGBT persons who are denied same because of these laws. Currently, buggery in Guyana is illegal and punished by imprisonment.
“If people are being abused and dying because of such laws and we are not doing anything about it, then we are all killing them, for every child that commits suicide because of rejection we must all take the blame,” she reasoned.
She said it would be irresponsible of her as a political leader not to consider such issues and made it clear that if she was President, she would have assented to laws that decriminalize homosexuality in Guyana.
Dr. Harding, who is also a professional Psychiatrist pointed to her advocacy during her campaign in the run up to the 2011 elections where she addressed the issue.
In fact, a special select committee of Parliament is considering the decriminalization of homosexuality in Guyana. The committee as part of the national debate in keeping with the government’s commitment to consider overhauling laws that discriminate against LGBT began receiving public submissions.
The Religious community, mainly Christians have spoken out, voicing their opposition to such a move.
The debate surrounding the issue was reinvigorated just about two weeks ago when a local pastor expressed the belief that all gays and persons of alternative sexual lifestyles should go on an island and live by themselves.
Since then, the debate has gained momentum with persons, including politicians, diplomats and religious persons supporting and rejecting the idea.
The minority community believes however that religious teachings and discriminatory laws to a large extent encourage violent rejection of such persons, and the denial of basic human rights including the right to an education, the right to work, the right to live free of violence and the right to access medical care.
However, some religious leaders have made it clear that their teachings against same sex relationships is not intended to encourage persons to perpetuate violence against the minority community.
Also speaking on the panel was Swami Aksharananda and Reverend Patricia Bisnauth.
The Swami said from a Hindu point of view, while there is general acceptance of the traditional ideal family, as having at a minimum, a wife and a husband and children, there is nothing in Hinduism that warrants the demonization of persons with alternative lifestyles, let alone invoking the wrath of God on anyone.
One the other hand, Rev. Bisnauth rejected the teaching of some pastors on the issue, even as it was brought into the question the influence Christianity has on shaping public policy in Guyana’s multiple religious society.