• A constitution should provide a foundation of principles upon which the laws of a society are built. Our current constitution espouses, for all its constituents, the right to equality before the law and the right to privacy as part of the legal framework for protection of the dignity of the person.
  • Justice Albie Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court stated: “It is the tainting of [homosexual] desire, it is the attribution of perversity and shame to spontaneous bodily affection, it is the prohibition of the expression of love, it is the denial of full moral citizenship in society because you are what you are, that impinges on the dignity and self-worth of a group.”
  • Jamaica’s intolerance of homosexuals is so acute that it has gained international attention. It is claimed that our homophobia finds its justification in the pages of the bible.
  • We hold that the appropriation by legislatures of the Christian condemnation of homosexuals is a purely arbitrary process since, in the case of adultery (of which much more mention is made in biblical text), Jamaica has no law pertaining to its condemnation or prosecution. The same applies to the act of fornication.
  • Furthermore, the Bible ought not to be a source of laws in a country whose constitution guarantees freedom of conscience/religion. In a non-theocratic society where the separation of Church and State has long been established, legal norms cannot be based on declarations of any one religious documents.
  • We believe that sexual orientation ought properly to be brought under the protective umbrella of the anti-discrimination clause within our Bill of Rights since gays, lesbians and bisexuals are being marginalized by society, and are not being afforded the rights of legal equality and privacy by our government.
  • A Bill of Rights should seek to protect the inherent human identity from abuse. By this we mean that features which are inherently and innately a part of one’s identity ought not to be allowed to form the basis for discrimination or exclusion by others.
  • Sexual orientation speaks to the person’s individuality and personality. Scientific opinion is weighted in favour of the view that sexual expression is indivisible from individual identity and that one’s sexuality is as much a fact of life as ones race, or gender.
  • Sexual orientation is clearly neutral, and its inclusion in an anti-discrimination clause would protect all persons from injury to their person, property or interests on the basis of the fact or perception of their sexual orientation.
  • Jamaican law, in the form of the “Offences Against the Person Act” (generally interpreted as referring to any kind of physical intimacy between men and in particular the act of “buggery” – anal intercourse), reflects institutionalized prejudism and discrimination by the criminalization of male homosexual intimacy.
  • In commenting upon the buggery law, Justice Albie Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court stated, “…it is not the act of sodomy that is denounced… but the so-called sodomite who performs it; not any proven social damage, but the threat that same-sex passion in itself is seen as representing to heterosexual hegemony.”
  • We do not propose the removal of heterosexual norms in favour of homosexual ones. Instead, we propose the development of a legal framework that acknowledges, and ensures respect for, all types of differences – political, ethnic, cultural, religious, sexual, social, economic, and physical.
  • Justice Sachs again: “What becomes normal… is not an imposed and standardized form of behavior that refuses to acknowledge difference, but the acceptance of the principle of difference itself, which accepts the variability of human behavior.”