Haitian lawmakers vote to ban same-–sex marriages

Saturday, August 05, 2017

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Haitian lawmakers have approved legislation prohibiting same-sex marriages as well as banning all forms of public demonstrations in support of homosexuality.

The Senate earlier this week approved the measure that includes sanctions and specifies that perpetrators, co-perpetrators, and accomplices of a homosexual marriage face a penalty of three years' imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 gourdes (One gourde=US$0.01 cents).

When the vote was taken on Tuesday night, 50 per cent of the total Senate was not present. But 12 senators voted in favour of the bill, while one voted against and another abstained.

This Bill, in addition to prohibiting marriage, or attempted marriage, between two persons of the same sex in Haiti, also prohibits all forms of public demonstrations in support of homosexuality and proselytism in favour of such acts, and stipulates that “any promotion, in any form or by any means, constitutes an offence of contempt of good morals and public decency”.

The Bill also includes foreigners on Haitian territory, stating “no foreigner can avail himself of his personal status and the provisions of the law of his country to solicit the celebration in Haiti of a marriage between two persons of the same sex”.

“All senators are opposed to same-sex marriage so this only reflects their commitments made at the time of their campaigns,” said Senator Youri Latortue, president of the Senate.

President of the 'Kouraj' Association, Charlot Jeudy, said that his group, which is recognised by the state and defends the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersexual (LGBTI), community, said the legislation is “an attack against the LGBTI community in Haiti”.

He said it will further divide society, reinforce discrimination, and bring much more violence and prejudice against the LGBTI community.

This Bill must now be transferred to the Lower House for debate before being sent to the executive for publication in the official newspaper, Le Moniteur.

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