London: Embassy protest planned against Jamaica’s buggery law
A protest against Jamaica’s anti-gay laws will take place tomorrow outside the country’s High Commission in London, coinciding with Jamaican Independence Day.
Wednesday 6 August marks the 52nd anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from Britain.
Human rights campaigners are renewing calls for the repeal of the island’s buggery law.
They will gather outside the Jamaican High Commission on 1 Prince Consort Road in Kensington at 4pm for a protest.
The Jamaican criminal code prohibits sex between men and sentences for buggery can include 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has failed to act to repeal the law despite indications during her 2011 campaign that she would work with the LGBT community. Since then, activists have filed two suits against the law.
In June, thousands of Jamaicans rallied in support of keeping the law and against the “homosexual agenda” after the government had been reportedly discussing the possibility of repeal.
“Jamaica’s ‘Emancipendence’ celebration is an appropriate time to reflect on the realisation of the dream of inclusion captured in our motto ‘Out of Many One People,’” stated Maurice Tomlinson, a prominent LGBT rights lawyer forced to flee Jamaica. “We are standing today, as Jamaicans in the Diaspora along with our allies, to affirm that ALL Jamaicans are citizens and deserve the full rights of our citizenship.”
Jason Latty, President of the Caribbean Alliance for Equality, said: “It is imperative for the survival and vitality of the Jamaican people that we move swiftly to repeal the buggery law. My organisation is outraged about the increasing acts of terror directed against LGBT Jamaicans. A nation that does not respect the life and dignity of its people is a nation on the decline.”
Edwin Sesange, Director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, stated: “This is the time for Jamaica to practice love for all. The buggery law should be scrapped immediately before more lives are lost. The government of Jamaica and its citizens should work towards achieving equality and justice for all its citizens, including LGBTI people.”
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“In Jamaica, people masquerading under the guise of ‘religious’ leaders have carried the banner for hatred and violence directed against LGBTI people,” said Rev Pat Bumgardner, Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York and Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute. “Ending the buggery law will help Jamaica celebrate the diversity of God’s creation and honor the value, dignity, and worth of all life.”
His words came shortly after The Gleaner, a leading Jamaican newspaper, published an editorial questioning the country’s ban on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Minister of State for Science and Technology Julian Robinson then called on the government to help a group of homeless gay and trans people who are forced to live in a storm gully.
Labour MP Diane Abbott, Chair of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Jamaica, told PinkNews in June that social conservative Christians would firmly resist any attempt to abolish anti-gay legislation.