Rape, incest and spousal abuse are all apparently contributing to the lesser known natural disaster of the “homosexual avalanche” that, according to one influential bishop, is sweeping the Bahamas.
The pronouncement that being gay is the product of sexual abuse belongs to Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Simeon Hall who, on February 24, decided to wax hysterical about the need to shore up the “last bastion” of good morality, the heterosexual family.
“Strong, loving functional families are the last bastion against the homosexual avalanche. Most churches and sociologists agree that adult behavior in all areas is shaped and influenced by what has happened in the family,” Hall is quoted as saying. ”Spousal abuse, incest and rape, all these have irreversible negative effects on children and unfortunately and regrettably these are on the rise. And I believe the root cause of some persons embracing the homosexual lifestyle.”
Bishop Hall then stopped beating around the flaming bush and touched on the real heart of his hand-wringing, saying, “I am convinced that the majority of the heterosexual Bahamians while they respect the individual rights of others will never accept the legalization of same sex marriage and to this we give our full support. Same sex marriage clearly violates the divine intent, but will also cause greater deterioration of the social order as we know it today.”
Hall, however, can be forgiven for appearing flustered. The anti-gay consensus in the Bahamas was dealt a blow this past fortnight when the Bahamas’ top judge, Sir Michael Barnett, openly predicted that the nation would soon have to consider the question of same-sex marriage.
“I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time when the courts of The Bahamas will address the issue of same sex marriage,” Sir Barnett is quoted as saying at a Bar Association luncheon at the Sheraton Resort. “I also have no doubt that in deciding the issue we will have respect for the decisions that emanate not only from the Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia, but also from decisions of the courts of the Unites States of America.”
“Our respective countries both have written constitutions that protect our human rights. Our citizens and visitors look to us, the justices of court, to protect these rights. Little justice is served by reinventing the wheel.”
The Bahamas has historically appeared to mirror rulings made in the United States and elsewhere. Given that countries like the UK and France are currently taking steps to legalize marriage equality, and that the United States Supreme Court is set to take up several important marriage equality-related cases in March (Windsor v. United States, Hollingsworth v. Perry), it is not to overstate when we say that Barnett appears to have, and quite openly, suggested support for same-sex marriage.
This comes after Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd publicly recommended that the nation’s constitution be amended to expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Bahamas is a religious conservative nation but has developed a less overtly hostile legal framework where homosexuality is concerned, with homosexuality having been decriminalized in 1991.
Despite decriminalization, however, open discrimination against LGBT persons across the housing and employment sectors remains rife and with little to no legal remedy, something that Bishop Boyd said he wanted to stop.
Boyd did, however, say that an exception should be made to ensure that same-sex marriage was not legalized by virtue of this anti-discrimination provision. To paraphrase Tracy Turnblad of the musical Hairspray, does Boyd not realize you can’t stop an avalanche?
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