Gay group wants to hear from PM Stuart

A regional organization which champions the rights of homosexuals and other people with alternative lifestyles wants a clear statement from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on proposed gender – neutral legislation against domestic violence.

The Caribbean Forum for Liberation & Acceptance of Genders & Sexualities (CariFLAGS) has taken issue with Stuart’s “silence” on the matter after his Minister of the Environment Dr Dennis Lowe declared that he would leave office before agreeing to such laws.

Lowe’s statement drew swift reaction from the Barbados – Gays, Lesbians and All Sexuals against Discrimination (B-GLAD) which called for his immediate resignation while describing his comments as “irresponsible, antediluvian, archaic and non-progressive”.

Just last week, the minister hit back at B-GLAD, insisting that he would be standing his ground.

“I stand by my word. I will not recant my conscience. My conscience is like my skin. I cannot walk away from it. So just as anybody has the right to have a gay relationship, whether it is in Barbados or they go to France, that’s their choice and that’s their right. God will be the judge. But if I say, I will not comply with any such request or practise, isn’t that my right?”

CariFLAGS is now raising questions about Lowe’s continued presence in the Cabinet as it reminded Prime Minister Stuart of “his duty and pledge to uphold human rights”.

The group, which is a 17-year-old coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations in the Caribbean, has charged that Lowe’s “campaign” against such legislation, “is the denial of equal protection to LGBT Barbadians, which he uses his Christian faith to justify”.

Furthermore, CariIFLAGS sounded a note of caution against “attacks” like Lowe’s, warning that he “claims a dangerous freedom as a Government minister to advocate gender-based discrimination and to speak out against the freedom of any group of Barbadians, with statements that are cheap appeals to polarization and exclusion”.

It also knocked the minister’s dismissal of B-GLAD founder Donnya Piggott, as it voiced strong support for her group’s position that no member of parliament should “allow personal
views to hinder their ability to serve the people of a country”.

CariFLAGS copied its letter to Stuart to the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission and a global parliamentary grouping it did not name.

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