Wednesday 15 July, 2020

Pundit slams religious protests: Gay rights are human rights

Pundit Satyanand Maharaj condemned religious groups who marched last week in support of the country's buggery laws.

In a statement, Maharaj said he was 'deeply ashamed' at protest action taken by religious groups last week in Port of Spain.

Christian organisation T&T Cause, consisting of various religious groups, marched last week in defence of the buggery laws, saying amending these laws would result in a deterioration of family values. 

Maharaj, however, condemned the 'religious hypocrisy' of the groups. 

"Buggery, these religious right zealots fail to recognize, is not the providence of only the gay, but consenting straight couples also engage in this sexual exercise. The buggery laws on the statute books for over a hundred years have witnessed the rise of the gay lifestyle."

"So clearly the buggery law did not act as a deterrent as hoped by the religious right. Clearly, therefore, the removal of buggery law will not as a consequence result in Trinidad and Tobago becoming a gay nation."

"It is saddening to see descendants of African slaves, and indentured Indians finding not a commonality to unite them such as the rising crime rate, domestic violence, or the mismanagement of our economy but instead to lock arms to discriminate against the LGBTQI community," he said.

He said members of the LGBTQI+ community deserve the right to co-exist alongside other citizens.

"The African human rights were denied in slavery, the Indian community have also been discriminated against during indentureship, women are still discriminated today, and the Muslim community today is still profiled and targeted because of their religion. These groups however have no compulsion or reservation in denying the human rights of the LGBTQI while at the same time demanding the protection of their own rights from discrimination."

"The religious hypocrisy of those protesting outside the parliament and other places should find no sympathy among right thinking nationals of Trinidad and Tobago.  As we mature into the 21st Century this medieval throwback against the gay community should be cast aside like slavery, anti-Semitism, etc."

"In the highest offices of the judiciary there are representatives of the gay community, in the parliament there are representatives of the gay community, in the medical profession there are representatives of the gay community, in the clergy there are representatives of the gay community."

"It is about time we recognize that these citizens have a right to co-exist alongside the rest of us. To deny that there are gay people among us is to further add to the hypocrisy and only underscore our collective delusion."

"To those who are fighting to prevent these people from their inalienable human rights, how will you react if your only child comes out to you? Will you abandon and disown them?  This is an issue where our humanity is being tested. A person’s humanity is not related to their sexuality," he said.

The protests stem from a pending civil matter filed by gay rights activist Jason Jones, who said the country's laws are a breach of his constitutional rights. 

Under Section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act, a person who commits the offence of buggery is liable on conviction to imprisonment for twenty-five years. The measure applies to intercourse between a consenting male and female or between two consenting males. 


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