SAME SEX MARRIAGE SUGGESTION LACKS LEGAL FOUNDATION
COMMENTARY BY ELCOTT COLEBY
As the debate continued this week on the four constitutional bills before Parliament, discount viagra pharmacy some controversy has erupted about the implications of the word “sex” in bill #4. The intent of the bill is to amend paragraphs (3) and (5) in Article 26 of the constitution to offer protection to persons in The Bahamas from discrimination based on their sex in addition to their race, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed, the latter descriptions of which are already enshrined in the constitution
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The controversy centers on the suggestion that the insertion of the word “sex” somehow opens the door for same sex marriage. This suggestion or proposition was made in social media, sales talk radio and eventually found its way into the Parliamentary debate and the daily news. Subsequently, there have been public calls for and meetings convened to discuss simplify the wording of the bill or to include a definition for the word “sex.”
The genesis of this controversy is interesting and suspicious because in Article 15 of the 1973 Bahamas Constitution, every person in The Bahamas is guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms regardless of his or her “race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex.” The definition of sex has never been in question in over 40 years because ostensibly it was understood by all and sundry to mean “man or woman.”
I will go further – as a matter of fact, the word “sex” has been an unchallenged part of our constitution since 1964 when The Bahamas achieved internal self-governance as the Attorney General correctly pointed out. At no time did the word “sex” mean or was confused with “sexual preference,” “sexual orientation” nor did it open the door (or perceived to be opening the door) for same sex marriage as is being suggested by some in this current debate on constitutional reform forty years later. The word “sex” always meant the quality of being a man or a woman or the quality of being male or female.
The Attorney General just this week pointed out correctly that the Matrimonial Causes Act is explicit is stating that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and further, the initial intent, letter and spirit of the Act is saved by the constitution.
In a recent interview with the media, the Attorney General had this to say by way of clarification based in law:
“I make it very clear from a legal standpoint that the use of the word “sex” does not in my view as the Attorney General open the door for same sex marriage. I say that if for no other reason that the very constitution itself saves the Matrimonial Causes Act and the Matrimonial Causes Act says that in The Bahamas a marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I also want to add interestingly that the word “sex” has been in The Bahamas Constitution since 1964. It has always been known to mean a man or a woman.”
Referring to past Privy Council rulings, the Attorney General continued that “further, the Privy Council cases make it very clear that even where someone has had a sex change for the purposes of marriage, your sex is your biological or your chromosomal composition at birth, that is XX for women and XY for men.” These rulings represent important precedents that are effective checks against marriages within the LGBT social grouping not involving a man and a woman.
So it is clear that The Bahamas constitution, together with the statute laws of The Bahamas and Privy Council rulings on gender effectively render same sex marriages unconstitutional, therefore illegal. As for the argument that the insertion of the word “sex” opens the door for same sex marriage, there is simply no legal foundation to support this suggestion, fear or concern and the perpetrators of this piece of misinformation have not provided the legal foundation on which this so called argument is supposedly built. From all indications, the argument is merely a false and fabricated premise, being used as a pretext to inject the highly emotive topic of same sex marriage into the national debate to create confusion and fear and to deflect from the salient constitutional issues at hand which is the expansion of personal rights and freedoms to men, women and children, thereby guaranteeing equality for all under the law.
Freedom loving and right thinking Bahamians everywhere are encouraged to become educated on the bills and the amendments seek to achieve for The Bahamas and be not swayed or deceived by any arbitrary “wing of doctrine” by people with hidden agendas who spew forth misinformation with impunity to achieve their selfish goals. At the end of the day, somebody’s opinion, suggestion, proposition, supposition or theory does not matter – only that which is rooted in law can and will stand.
About the author
Elcott Coleby is a Deputy Director at the Bahamas Information Services. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry (B.Sc) and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). He provides frequent commentary on public policy and communicates the works of the government. Address all comments to the following email:firstname.lastname@example.org