An End To Discrimination… Sort Of

Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson said recently that the Constitution should be amended to end all forms of discrimination, except discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Mrs Maynard Gibson said there have been no reported cases where anyone has alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation therefore there are “far more pressing matters that need to be considered”. One of the matters she said was equal rights for women.

“The only provision that needs to be included is reference to equality on the basis of sex. I have talked about the anomalies that exist and I do not think, and certainly there was no evidence, that was presented to me that people were discriminated against because of their sexuality.

“I think it is very important that we function in the realm of objectivity and empirical evidence and no evidence has been presented that shows there has been any discrimination on the grounds that has been discussed, so for me there are other far more pressing matters that need to be considered.

“Also there are no provisions in the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Act which in any way might be perceived as positively discriminating against persons on the basis of sexual orientation. It should be observed that persons who are in same sex relationships are able to avail themselves of the regular protection and remedies available under the Law in respect of violence or assault or property rights. I wish to emphasize that in The Bahamas marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. Contrary to reports otherwise, the Registrar General has assured me that there are no recorded “marriages” between any persons of the same sex.

Mrs Maynard Gibson did recommend, however, that the Bahamas amend all the provisions of the Constitution that treat men and women differently in terms of their ability to acquire citizenship and confer citizenship on their spouses and children.

She also suggested protection for persons with disabilities will be accomplished through the Disabilities Act and therefore “fundamental rights provisions need not be amended in this regard.”

By Sancheska Brown
Tribune Staff Reporter