Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Saturday, June 14, 2003  

Cart before horse

This week a provincial court in Canada ruled banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional, sparking heated debate over the issue.

In a predictable, follow-fashion move, the local media began asking the question of legalising same-sex marriage in sweet T&T. The issue was raised at the weekly post-cabinet meeting press conference, with the PM saying he had no position on the issue - then in the next breath saying he found the photograph on the front page of Wendesday's Newsday of two gay men kissing in "poor taste". The journalists in attendance pointed out that that in itself was a comment on the issue, to which the PM, a born-again Christian, couldn't but agree.

Now, I'm no Andrew Sullivan when it comes to the issues and arguments surrounding gay rights, but it seems to me that all this talk of gay marriage in T&T is moot, and will continue to be so, so long as gay sex continues to be a crime.

But who, in a country where homophobia and bigotry is the default setting, is going to stand up and ask that this archaic piece of legislation be struck off the statute books? The counter-argument is that the law is never enforced. Fair enough: but that does not make it any less demeaning and shaming to the gay community that their way of life, for no rational reason, is seen as criminal and wrong.

Thankfully, however, our attitude towards homosexuality is nowhere as shameful as, say, Jamaica. Put it down to our famed "tolerance" that a person can all but openly say he or she is gay and generally be accepted; and with Peter Minshall recently being the first Trinidadian to go public with his sexuality, I think it quite possible that in time to come, (to quote the calypsonian Crazy) we may very well be giving best wishes to the groom and groom.

posted by Jonathan | 4:17 PM 0 comments


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