GUYANA'S Gay community Welcomes Antigua's High Court decision decriminalizing same-sex intimacy

GUYANA'S Gay community Welcomes Antigua's High Court decision decriminalizing same-sex intimacy

GEORGETOWN, July 11, 2022 - Guyana’s  Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) says it welcomes the decision of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in decriminalizing same sex intimacy in Antigua and Barbuda.

The decision follows a court challenge brought by a gay man against Antigua and Barbuda, on the grounds that the Sexual Offences Act (of 1995) contained several unconstitutional and discriminatory sections.

The Court ruled tha sections 12 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act which prohibited several acts of same-sex intimacy were unconstitutional and discriminatory. 

SASOD Guyana, a human rights organisation and movement working for equality and justice for Guyanese, in a statement says it emphatically celebrates with the people of Antigua and Barbuda, civil society and other partners who contributed to the success of the legal challenge.

Celebrating the victory, Co-Chair of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS) Lucien Govaard, urged regional leaders to “tackle these issues as a united region, one Caribbean, where all our peoples can live without fear, discrimination, harassment, or violence.”

Similarly, the Caribbean Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Observatory and the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) has called on Caribbean Governments to repeal discriminatory laws that continue to marginalize and infringe upon the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people and to firmly adopt and promote a culture of inclusion and respect for all people.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court decision in the Antigua and Barbuda case, follows rulings in Belize (2016) and in Trinidad and Tobago (2018) where similar legal provisions were struck down. 

There are currently ongoing constitutional challenges of the same nature in St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados, where final rulings are expected to be handed down by the end of the year.

Managing Director of SASOD Guyana,Joel Simpson, Managing Director of SASOD Guyana,Joel Simpson, SASOD Guyana notes that there are now fewer Caribbean nations where these archaic laws remain on the books. Managing Director of SASOD Guyana, Joel Simpson, reminded that “We have been lobbying and working with the Government of Guyana for over 19 years to remove these discriminatory and dangerous laws here in Guyana. 

“We remain among a rapidly decreasing number of Caribbean nations that continue to allow these colonial remnants to endanger the lives of LGBTIQ+ people, in spite of the human rights implications.” 

Simpson went on to state that “we hope that the Guyana government can see that this issue is now practically settled law. These provisions are discriminatory and unconstitutional, and they must go! We hope the government is encouraged to table legislation in the National Assembly to repeal similar provisions which criminalize same-sex intimacy in our law books.”

Author’s Posts