Get Guyana's Constitution in line

Dear Editor
Guyana Chronicle
June 18, 2001

IN A recent letter in the newspapers, a number of religious organizations and individuals listed their reasons to have any reference to sexual orientation expunged from Amendment 5 of the Constitution Bill.

The signatories quoted the following, an excerpt from Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

"All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

I would like to draw their attention to part of that quotation. The prefix "such as" means that what follows is not all inclusive. As such, even though sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned, it is not excluded.

The organisations/individuals went on to further state that:

"There is no obligation or requirement to entrench the issue of sexual orientation constitutionally, particularly when there is the danger of creating other `undesirable rights' such as same sex marriages and same sex adoption of children, which are expressly proscribed in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (see page two of the Preamble and Articles 9 and 16).

In addition, the Convention of the Rights of the Child sets out the responsibility of governments to protect public health and morals and to protect children from "sexual exploitation, abuse and unlawful sexual activity."

First of all, there is an obligation to ensure that sexual orientation is covered as a specific category in the Constitution.

And what is undesirable rights any way? And who decides what is undesirable?

It is because of this kind of view that homosexuals are being persecuted. There are references to preventing the creating of same sex marriages and protecting the welfare of children against sexual exploitation.

These organisations/bodies need to know that pedophiles are largely not homosexual and to allude that homosexuals are pedophiles is ludicrous.

Children are being discriminated against and exploited by people who are for the most part not homosexual.

These kinds of baseless statements only fan feelings of fear in the general population and seek to demoniase gay people.

The recent cases of rape and murder against children that were covered here in the media, were not perpetrated by homosexuals.

Gay marriages are being viewed in the more advanced countries as a right. In the United States, Sweden and Holland, to name a few, homosexual couples can legally adopt children and are proving to be excellent parents.

I urge the President to include sexual orientation as a specific category in the Constitution.

I am not a friend of Lance Carberry, but on this one, I agree with him.

It is time to get Guyana's Constitution in line.