Bill Denies Same Sex Marriage
By Sasha Lightbourne
The Bahama Journal
Nassau, The Bahamas
The government has made it clear – the proposed amendments to the constitution to promote gender equality between men and women will not open the door for same sex marriages, yet concerns continue to flare with those who remain unconvinced with the government’s assurance, therefore prompting the attorney general and others with a bird’s eye view of the proposed law to clear up the misconceptions.
While appearing on Jones and Company on Sunday, Co-Chair of the Public Education and Advocacy Committee for the Constitutional Commission Theresa Moxey-Ingraham told host Wendall Jones that “none of the bills open the door for same sex marriage.”
“My retort is to try and explain what sex means when people ask me about same sex marriages,” she said.
“I would say that the Constitution defines what a bogus marriage is and those are my words. One of the categories of non-marriage is people of the same gender and that is already in our law and in the Marital Clauses Act and so you say to people do not be afraid here are the facts. These bills have nothing to do with same sex marriage.”
In response to critics, Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson recently spoke out to set the record straight on the highly controversial issue.
Using her legal expertise, the attorney general said the bill will not provide gays with an opportunity to marry in The Bahamas nor will it allow a transgender the right to marry under the Constitution.
“The Matrimonial Clauses 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,” she said.
“Further the cases make it clear, even the Privy Council cases – even where someone has had a sex change for the purpose of a marriage your sex is your biological or your chromosomal composition at birth, that is XX for women and XY for men. There are many reasons to be confident and assure the Bahamian people that the word ‘sex’ does not open the door to same sex marriages.”
The attorney general said as much during a press conference with members of the Commonwealth Women of Parliamentarians (CWP).
The fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill has become the centre of debate on the proposed controversial bills that seek to promote gender equality between men and women
Mrs. Maynard –Gibson also took the time to address those persons who oppose the component of the bill that would allow a Bahamian woman to marry a foreigner and secure future citizenship for her spouse in the midst of views that Bahamian women could possibly be taken advantage of as a result.
“Who is doing best in schools, elementary and high school,” she asked.
“Girls, they’re being trained to make good decisions, go to our universities, The College of The Bahamas (COB), universities all over the world, who’s excelling? Women. So you’re going to tell me that women don’t have anything between their two ears that enables them to make a sound decision that impacts their lives positively and impacts the community in which they live.”
Given the concerns over the word ‘sex’ in the constitution, Chairman of The Constitutional Commission Sean McWeeney recently said that the commission is drafting a change to the bill to include a definition for the word ‘sex’.
The commission also announced that it would reword the proposed referendum questions to ensure an ease of understating for the average Bahamian.
Debate on the four bills continue in the House of Assembly, if all goes as planned, a constitutional referendum is slated for November 6.
August 18, 2014