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Jamaica’s Anti Gay Law Remains

By Charlotte Robinson, August 07, 2014
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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