On the 52nd anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from the United Kingdom hundreds of human rights activists from the United States, Canada & the United Kingdom protested demanding for the repeal of that country’s buggery law, which effectively criminalizes lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender life. Violation of the colonial-era law carries a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor & has caused widespread anti LGBT violence throughout Jamaica. Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has failed to act to repeal the law despite saying during her 2011 campaign that she would work with the LGBT community. Since then activists have filed 2 suits against the law. Jason Latty, President of the Caribbean Alliance for Equality stated, “It is imperative for the survival & vitality of the Jamaican people that we move swiftly to repeal the buggery law. My organization is outraged about the increasing acts of terror directed against LGBT Jamaicans. A nation that does not respect the life & dignity of its people is a nation on the decline.” Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York & Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute, concluded, “In Jamaica, people masquerading under the guise of ‘religious’ leaders have carried the banner for hatred & violence directed against LGBTI people. Ending the buggery law will help Jamaica celebrate the diversity of God's creation & honor the value, dignity, and worth of all life.” The U.S. Department of State, the Organization of American States, the United Nations Human Rights Council & Amnesty International have all condemned the history of violence & discrimination against LGBT individuals in Jamaica & have called for repeal of the buggery law.
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