Dear challenges Byer-Suckoo on same sex marriage

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It makes no sense.

That was gay rights activist Darcy Dear’s reaction to Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo’s passionate discourse yesterday on same sex marriage.

In her contribution to the debate on the Domestic Violence Protection Orders Amendment Actand the Sexual Offence Amendment Bill Byer-Suckoo was emphatic that despite suggestions from some quarters, reference to the two pieces of legislation as gender neutral was not a way of “opening the door to same sex marriage” here.

A tough-talking Byer-Suckoo also said while she harboured “no ill feeling to persons of that ilk”, as long as she was a policymaker, “I know where I will stand” on the issue of same sex marriage.

In a swift response, Dear suggested that the minister was off base because that was not how members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community interpreted the legislation.

The gay rights campaigner told Barbados TODAY he was happy that the Act had been passed as it would protect Barbadians, regardless of their sexual preference, from domestic abuse.

“But nowhere in there it tells me anything about same sex marriage. And the Government does not have to open no door for same sex marriage in Barbados because I am quite sure that every plane that touches down at Grantley Adams [International Airport] or every ship that comes in the harbour, there is a same sex couple on it.

“What are we going to do when Barbadian gays who marry overseas bring home their couples? I don’t know,” Dear said.

In her remarks, Byer-Suckoo also stressed that Government would not bend to pressure from any international organization or government that wanted to lend support but required Barbados to change its laws in relation to same sex unions.

However, the outspoken Dear said the minister appeared to be “mixed up” because Barbados was not under international pressure to legalize gay marriages.

“I don’t recall any international organization or person at any time asking Barbados to put gay marriages on their books. I stand to be corrected, but I don’t know. I think the goodly doctor may be getting mixed up,” Dear said.

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