Stand firm!

Local group calls on Portia to maintain stance on buggery laws during meeting with Obama

Sunday, April 05, 2015

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THE Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) said it has noted an online letter to US President Barack Obama by various Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups in that country urging him to advocate for rights of local members of that community during his meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Caricom Heads of Government this week.


In light of this, the JCHS said it is anticipating that the Government will uphold its reported commitment made at the Caricom Heads of Government meeting last July to seek the full and informed consent of the Jamaican people on such fundamental issues.


"We commend the Honourable Prime Minister for her recent bold stance in New York and urge her to maintain this position in her upcoming meetings," the JCHS said, adding, "We urge her to continue defending the truth, that there are no reports of abuse by the Jamaican State against homosexuals, that MSMs have no impediments to access to health care, that Jamaica’s model for HIV/AIDS treatment is praised around the world."


In a statement released to the media yesterday, chairman of JCHS Dr Wayne West said the coalition has also taken note of the recent US State Department’s appointment of its first-ever special envoy to advocate globally for the "sexual rights" of LGBT people. Jamaica and other Caricom nations, it said, have been named as countries to be targeted for the repeal of their buggery laws.


"The JCHS takes this opportunity to remind the Honourable Prime Minister of Jamaica and other Government officials that LGBT ‘sexual rights’ and lifestyles are not supported by the majority of Jamaicans," the JCHS said.


This, it noted, was made clear in last September’s Bill Johnson poll as well as with the presence of over 40,000 Jamaicans attending the combined Jamaica CAUSE rallies in Kingston and Montego Bay last June and November.


"Additionally, 140 organisations from 11 Caricom territories representing hundreds of thousands of Caribbean nationals rejected attempts to change our laws through the PANCAP Declaration (June 2014)."


"The Caricom Heads then agreed to defer discussions on this declaration pending further national consultation," the JCHS noted. The coalition said it denounces violence against all people, be it children or "such self-described LGBT persons" and affirms the inherent dignity of every human being.


"We make a clear distinction between the discrimination against persons and discrimination against behaviours that are high risk for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)," the group noted.


"Whilst we fully endorse programmes to eliminate discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, we reject attempts to restrict or stigmatise social discrimination against unwholesome behaviours. We reject efforts to encourage or legitimise behaviours that are high risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs.


Behaviours that are socially dysfunctional and have a demonstrably high statistical association with diseases cannot be endorsed," the statement said.


The coalition said the group is calling on the Jamaican Government to protect every citizen by preserving the true fundamental rights and freedoms as currently enshrined in the constitution.


"We are horrified at the human rights abuses suffered by countless ordinary Americans – bakers, florists, firemen, pastors, parents, teachers, IT specialists, lawyers and navy chaplains among others – who have had their freedoms of conscience, speech, religious liberty and parental rights crushed all in the name of LGBT ‘rights’.


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