Bahamian Prime Minister: Equal marriage is ‘something I don’t believe in’
The Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie, has said that he does not agree with equal marriage, and that it is not an issue which his government will be considering.
Christie was asked about the reaction from the country’s Chief Justice, who predicted the country would take on the issue of equal marriage soon.
In an optimistic address Barnett predicted that the issue would come to the courts in the Bahamas, and said that he would be looking to other countries for reference when considering the issue.
Christie responded to say: “For me it never arose… It’s something I don’t believe in. It’s something that would never have come up with me, and it doesn’t come up.
“It’s a matter that one has to understand that exists in other countries next to us… It has become the law in some countries and we have to respect the laws of the countries.”
“But when it comes to the Bahamas there’s no issue before my government about changing the laws with respect to marriage.”
He was asked whether he would consider including the question of equal marriage on the Bahamian government’s upcoming referendum, to which he responded: “I can only speak for myself personally,”
“On all matters to do with conscience a government has to decide on it and I’m not going to speak for my government.
“This happened when the laws were changed to allow homosexuality in private with consenting adults, and so again it was a matter of conscience with people voting.
“I don’t see it as an issue in The Bahamas today. I don’t see it as an issue before my government. It most certainly is not an issue before my government.”
In February, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd recommended that the constitution be amended to rule out the possibility of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Boyd presented his recommendations to the Constitutional Commission on 1 February, and did go on to say, however, that he did not support equal marriage.
Human rights activist Erin Greene also recommended that the Bahamas change its law to allow equal marriage.
While civil unions and equal marriage both remain illegal in the country, some same-sex Bahamian couples have travelled abroad to marry.