Dominica churches promise support to government on ban regarding same sex-marriages

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The Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC) Tuesday said it would support the government in maintaining a ban on same sex marriages on the island. .

“With the advent of the LGBTQ community intending to take the government to court to reverse current laws on our books, we want to say to the nation that we will stand on our position,” DAEC president Pastor Randy Rodney told a news conference.

Pastor Rodney told reporters that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had a few years ago that “those laws would not be revoked.

“We are very aware that there’s a strong LGBTQ lobby all around the world, but we will stand along with the government as far as preserving the naturalness of what God expects is concerned,” he told reporters.

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, a Toronto-based advocacy group, announced late last month that an unidentified man will file a lawsuit in Dominica’s High Court.

In a statement it said the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Programme is among the other organizations that are supporting the plaintiff who has asked to remain anonymous.

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network notes the gay man plans to challenge two provisions of Dominica’s Sexual Offenses Act that criminalizes anal sex and “gross indecency” with up to 10 years and 12 years in prison respectively.

“The claimant at the center of this case is a gay man who could face more than a decade in prison for private sexual intercourse with consenting adult same-sex partners,” the statement said, adding “already, he has experienced homophobic hostility, discrimination, harassment and physical and sexual assaults fueled by these hateful laws”.

The statement said that the police had “refused to investigate” an attack against the man that took place in his home and has “allowed his attacker to remain free.”

Sodomy or buggery, is illegal here and while Dominica has no law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the island does not recognise same-sex unions, whether in the form of marriage or civil unions.

Pastor Rodney said that the DAEC will give the government “as much support as we can from a biblical perspective, a prayer perspective and a position based on the information we have”.

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