Identity Kenya reports on the state of gay rights and criminalization of homosexuality in the Caribbean. After a legal suit was filed to decriminalize consensual and private gay sex in Jamaica, a leading senator in Grenada has also called for anti-sodomy laws to be repealed. Here are excerpts with a link to the original and other related articles below:
Gay rights activist Javed Saunja Jaghai is asking the Jamaican Supreme Court to find that consensual sex between male adults be seen as a private act that should not be criminalised. He argues that the right to privacy contained in the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Constitutional Amendment) Act, 2011, means that laws outlawing sodomy cannot be used to prosecute adult gay men. Under these laws, men found guilty of having sex with each other face up to 10 years imprisonment.
According to Jaghai’s court documents, he was evicted by his landlord on the basis that any homosexual acts on the priority would be illegal. This case is one of at least three that have been filed, both in Jamaica and with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, challenging the legality of criminalising sex between men in Jamaica. Jamaica has been described as one of the most homophobic places in the world by Time magazine.
In 2012, before taking office, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller said that she was open to reviewing the criminalisation of homosexuality in her country but has not yet made any moves in this regard.
Meanwhile, the president of Grenada’s Senate, Lawrence Joseph, has written that his island nation and other Caribbean countries should repeal their colonial-era sodomy laws. In an article set to be published on Friday, Joseph says that “the day is fast approaching” when Grenada and others in the region will need to amend anti-sodomy laws to “fall in line with the mainstream,” reported the Associated Press.
He not only commented that refusing to do so meant that other more liberal and larger countries could impose penalties on Caribbean nations but also said that there may well not be any reasonable justification to keep criminalising consensual gay sex. Eleven nations in the former British West Indies, in and around the Caribbean, still criminalise homosexuality.