It is not a big thing in Saint Lucia today, but that will soon change. It is an issue that is heading to all corners of the world. Saint Lucia so far has not had to decide, but that too, will soon change. The agenda of those behind that issue is global in its breadth and depth.
We are talking here about same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, which is the marriage of two people of the same legal sex. As of 2023, marriage between same-sex couples is legally performed and recognized in 34 countries that have a total population of about 1.35 billion people (17% of the world’s population), with the most recent country to accept gay marriage being Andorra.
Although same-sex marriage is not a hot button issue in Saint Lucia, in that it is not debated nationally, it is still generating discussion in the country. Surprisingly, the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) community is not outspoken on that issue, although it has been candid and straightforward on other issues pertaining to its members, such as their rights as human beings and the laws of buggery that are still on Saint Lucia’s law books.
The LGBTQI movement across the Caribbean is fighting to strike out homophobic laws in former British colonies, which heavily reflects a dislike of, or prejudice, against LGBTQI people.
Antigua and Barbuda, in July of last year, made headlines across the region when the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court struck down sections 12 and 15 of that island’s Sexual Offences Act of 1995 concerning buggery, which was defined as anal sex either between two males or between a male and a female, whose commission can lead to a sentence of 15 years if done by two adults.
The decision in Antigua and Barbuda is part of a growing trend of court challenges in former British colonies in the Caribbean, which to date has been successful in striking down buggery laws in Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis.
A verdict in the case against Saint Lucia is still pending. And although Saint Lucia as a nation, has yet to reveal where its sympathy lies regarding same-sex marriage, which is part of the LGBTQI agenda, that group may find comfort in knowing that the Domestic Violence Act of 2022, which was passed in parliament, provides legal protections to people in same-sex relationships who experience domestic violence. They are now able to access all the resources and remedies provided in the Act, including protection orders from the court.
Will Saint Lucia, as a nation, endorse same-sex marriage by signing it into law as other countries have done? That question may be deemed inappropriate now as there is nothing to suggest that Saint Lucia intends to break with the norms and traditions of its people.
Such a debate, however, is unavoidable, seeing that the powerful countries of the world have already endorsed it.
Such a debate will be a transformative moment for our parliament which has members who, based on their biblical, church and traditional upbringings, are in full support of marriage being between a man and a woman and not between a man and a man or a woman and a woman.
The LGBTQI agenda, be it local, regional or international is growing and growing fast. Its influence and reach are global. Despite that, not all the countries of the world are accepting the agenda. Many countries are pushing back against it.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, this week, signed an anti-LGBTQI bill into law that the United States, Europe and other countries described as the harshest anti-LGBTQI law in the world. That country is facing extreme criticism from western governments for its position on gays and lesbians.
The bill includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality’ which includes sex with a minor, having sex while HIV positive and incest. The bill criminalizes sex education for the gay community and makes it illegal not to expose what it calls perpetrators of aggravated homosexuality to the police. It calls for “rehabilitation”– a widely discredited conversion therapy – for gay offenders.
“The United States is deeply troubled by Uganda’s passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, a law that undermines the human rights, prosperity, and welfare of all Ugandans,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Monday.
Blinken added that the law would damage Uganda’s “reputation as a destination for investment, development, tourism, and refugees,” and he said he had directed the State Department to update the guidance for Americans travelling to Uganda.
Western governments are refusing to acknowledge a country’s position not to accept homosexuality and lesbian behaviours, and is ready to wield the big stick to bring such countries in line. This is hardly surprising as western governments are seen as the ones perpetuating that kind of lifestyle across the world.
Every country, we believe, will one day have to take a stand on the LGBTQI issue, particularly that aspect of the LGBTQI community known as same sex marriage.
Saint Lucia may hold out for some time but not indefinitely. Western countries, including the Mighty United States, are prepared to fight any country, big or small, rich or poor, which says NO to the LBGTQI agenda on the basis of tradition or biblical morality.
US President Joe Biden has already instructed the National Security Council “to evaluate the implications of the Ugandan law on all aspects of US engagement with Uganda, including the US ability to safely deliver services under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other forms of assistance and investments.”
Biden also warned that his administration is considering additional steps, including sanctions and restrictions on entry to the US for “anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption.”
British and European leaders also condemned the law, with the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell describing it as “deplorable.”
The debate will be coming to our parliament, sooner if not later, where the government will have no choice but to show its hand, be it for or against.