Opposing groups march over proposal to legalize same-sex unions in Barbados

A report by Anesta Henry for Barbados Today.

Christians marching against Government’s proposal to legalize same-sex unions are being challenged by the group they are protesting against.

When scores of Christians marched from Lower Estate, St George to Glebe playing field on Saturday, in that same parish, they were surprised to see about six people with placards in hand, in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The Christians who participated in the event, organised by the Family-Faith-Freedom Barbados movement, did not allow the presence of the LGBT supporters stop them from protesting against the recent announcement in the Throne Speech, delivered by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason, that Government is gearing up to recognise same sex civil unions.

During the event, which lasted for just over two hours, the Christians sang hymns and delivered speeches and prayers that stressed on the point that recognizing civil unions for couples of the same sex will destroy the moral fabric of society.

At the same time, the LGBT supporters stood on the sidelines with their placards on which they had written Bible scriptures.

Director of Sexual Health Empowerment (SHE) Ro-Ann Mohammed, who was one of the LGBT supporters counter protesting, said she and other members of the LGBT community decided to make their presence felt at the rally, to hold the Christians accountable for the messaging that they are spreading about members of the community.

She said members of the community, particularly those living in vulnerable circumstances, are affected by the messaging being sent by the Family-Faith-Freedom group.

“We have a strong LGBT community here, we always have been and always will, and it is important that our voices are heard in this conversation. The same-sex civil union legislation that has been proposed, it hasn’t even been drafted yet, but doesn’t have anything to do with people who aren’t in same-sex relationships,” Mohammed said.

“This is something for people who are in same-sex relationships and would like to share their lives with their partner and I don’t understand why this is something that needs to be protested when there are so many other pressing issues in society, like incest, rape, sexual abuse, violence, and I don’t see marches for those things. So, we are just here to hold them accountable.”

Mohammed also accused the Family-Faith-Freedom movement of being funded by a “right wing conservative group in the United States” for the past three years.

“It is actually quite interesting to know that this group is being funded by people who are white conservative US Trump supporters and the LGBT movement are the ones often told that we are bringing those things from the US, from Canada, and the United Kingdom, when in truth and in fact LGBT people have always been a part of Caribbean culture and we have always contributed to the society,” Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the  Family-Faith-Freedom Barbados Registered Charity, Dr Veronica Evelyn, welcomed the counter protesters whom she said have every right to be present.

In fact, Dr Evelyn said if she was a member of the LGBT community she would have taken the same action.

“They have every right to be here. They feel strongly about it. From my Christian perspective, from my Biblical view, they are blinded, the devil has put wool over their eyes, the Bible talks about deceit. So they have every right to be here and the truth is I am very glad that they are here, because they heard our message,” she said.

Dr Evelyn made it clear that Christians do not hate the members of the LGBT community, whom she said have sexual identity challenges.

But she said she was not happy that her movement was being accused of accepting funding from a group associated with the Trump administration.

The Executive Director said she was ready to take legal actions on the allegations, and suggested that the movement depends on donations from individuals and churches.

“This sexual rights movement is built on lies. The Bible says that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. So when they say our funding come from Trump, I want them to bring the proof, and if they can’t bring that proof, we are going to do something about it,” Dr Evelyn said.

The third of five protest marches is scheduled to be held in The City, next week. 

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