Barbados to recognise same sex unionsTuesday, September 15, 2020
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC)— The Barbados government has signalled its intention to recognise same sex relationships.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, addressing the opening of a new term of the Barbados Parliament, said that the island has always been in the vanguard of pioneering social justice, the protection of civil rights and the battle to ensure dignity to the poor, marginalised, vulnerable and dispossessed.
“Our generation must do no less; for compassion, decency, empathy, kindness, fairness, and justice are what characterise us as a people,” she said, noting that it was the Charter of Barbados signed here in 1652 that gave rise to the expression, “no taxation without representation” which became the rallying cry for American colonists to break with Britain and precipitate the American War of Independence.
Dame Sandra said that the legal systems of modern societies recognise many different forms of human relationships and that Barbados is now increasingly finding itself on international lists, including within the multilateral system, which identify the island as having a poor human rights record.
“Barbados does not conduct business, trade with itself or give itself loan funding. In some cases, our human rights record, when viewed against modern international standards, impacts these other issues and how we are viewed amongst the global family of nations.
“On this matter, the world has spoken. If we wish to be considered amongst the progressive nations of the world, Barbados cannot afford to lose its international leadership place and reputation. Nor can a society as tolerant as ours allow itself to be “blacklisted” for human and civil rights abuses or discrimination on the matter of how we treat to human sexuality and relations.”
She said that the Mia Mottley administration will do the right thing, understanding that this, too, will attract controversy.
“Equally, it is our hope that with the passage of time, the changes we now propose will be part of the fabric of our country's record of law, human rights and social justice,” the Governor General said, adding that in this regard the government “is prepared to recognise a form of civil unions for couples of the same gender so as to ensure that no human being in Barbados will be discriminated against, in exercise of civil rights that ought to be theirs.
“The settlement of Barbados was birthed and fostered in discrimination, but the time has come for us to end discrimination in all forms. I wish to emphasise that my government is not allowing any form of same sex marriage, and will put this matter to a public referendum. My government will accept and be guided by the vote of the public as promised in the manifesto.”
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