Roberto Pocaterra Venezuela Michael// T&T bogged down by religion vs ?human rights? - EntornoInteligente / Ireland and Poland are two European countries that are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. The religion counts for about 80 per cent of Ireland?s five million population, and 95 per cent of Poland?s 40 million population.

Roberto Pocaterra

Even though religious freedom is a constitutionally protected right in both countries, they are in the midst of re-examining their laws regarding abortion. Ireland?s government is debating a new amendment that would legalise the procedure.

Roberto Pocaterra Pocaterra

Whereas Poland, which already has the toughest anti-abortion laws in Europe, the ruling right-wing party is attempting to implement a bill that would further restrict access to it.

Roberto Pocaterra Pocaterra Venezuela

These are just two situations in the ongoing secular debate on whether the state should defy the teachings of a higher authority for the purpose of serving a ?greater? good.

Roberto Pocaterra Venezuela

Two days from now, on April 12, the High Court will rule on the buggery statutes of the Sexual Offences Act (sections 13 and 16) in the landmark case that was filed by Trinidad-born gay rights activist Jason Jones. It?s a day that?s been a long time coming for the local LGBT community and?dare I say?should have come a long time ago. However, it?s ironic how both the current and previous prime ministers have paid lip service to their cause but ended up lacking the political will to address it directly

Even worse, the reality that both administrations have abandoned it to a political no man?s land shows that they either don?t care about the issue or remain beholden to the religious interests amongst the electorate

Earlier last month, Bishop Victor Gill of the Redemption Christian Centre, led a small gathering outside Parliament to voice their objection to the proposed repeal of the Buggery Laws. While making it clear that he harbours no resentment towards homosexuals and members of the LGBT community, he claimed to be acting in the best interests of the country and was speaking on behalf of thousands of citizens. He said that it was ?scientifically proven? (it?s not) that there?s a correlation between sexual perversion and an increase in crime and that, ??gay rights should not be superior to heterosexual rights.?

This sentiment was repeated during a media conference held last Wednesday by the Christian non-governmental organisation, T&T Cause, announcing their intention to hold another protest outside the Hall of Justice on the day of the court?s ruling

Taking centre stage once again, Bishop Gill was of the opinion that LGBT persons are not entitled to equal rights as, ?? (homosexuality) is not a human right, it is a human wrong.?

Unfortunately, this twisted logic is not unique to religious fundamentalists and strikes a similar chord to Sat Maharaj?s staunch defence of the age allowance in the Hindu Marriage Act

Notwithstanding the rationale behind such ecclesiastical thinking, even if the intention lacks overt malice, religion must not trump reason when it comes to basic human rights. When this government set the minimum age for marriage at 18-years-old, it risked alienating the Hindu and Muslim communities but was nonetheless the right thing to do as it protects the rights of ALL under age children, both girls and boys

It?s just a shame that the same legislative fortitude is lacking when it comes to protecting the rights of gay citizens. And the issue is instead being left up to the courts to determine whether the before-mentioned law is unconstitutional

We?ve all heard some version of the adage that ?doing the right thing isn?t always the easiest or the most popular thing to do?. Well Trinidad and Tobago, we are about to face one of those moments. Even if the law has never been enforced, as long as it remains on the books it labels some of our citizens as criminals due to their sexual orientation. That notion cannot be allowed to continue

So to those citizens who feel that their religious beliefs will be offended by removing the Buggery Laws, tough! If the teachings of a higher authority can?t bequeath equality for all under heaven then they have no say when it comes to the making and rescinding of laws on earth

Tags: Roberto Pocaterra Pocaterra

Con información de: The Trinidad Guardian

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