Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas says the introduction of legislation allowing same sex marriage in St. Kitts and Nevis goes beyond a debate in the Parliament but should include the views of all stakeholders in the twin island Federation.
“I believe the church will want to have its say upon this particular matter. I believe the various groups that are pursuing the human rights of people in a vigorous way in the fundamentals of what people can do or what people cannot do and also looking at what governments can do to lend support to the debate,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
“I believe it will generate quite a bit of national debate. I believe we would be guided not only with what is happening in North America and in Europe, but to some extent what have been cultural norms in our own Caribbean Society and in our own St. Kitts and Nevis society.
“This is a fundamental question I believe that will definitely need to be brought to national debate at some time,” Dr. Douglas said on his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister”.
Dr. Douglas, who has lead responsibility for health within the quasi Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cabinet, is one of the leading advocates on human rights “especially those who are homosexuals, those who are gays, lesbians, I believe that they have a right.
“In fact, because of my own position with regard to the leadership role that I play in advocacy with regard to HIV/AIDS and the fact that when a society continues to openly condemn those persons who are gays, lesbians and who therefore maybe driven underground and may not want to come into testing to know their status with regards to HIV; that is something that I condemn,” Dr. Douglas added.
He is of the view that the stigmatization and the discrimination against homosexuals, those persons who are sex workers are matters of human rights that have to be discussed in the open at some stage.
“As a country, we have been called upon to look at some of the existing laws that we have on our law books. The buggery law for example, we believe that the time has come for debate to take place in our country with regard to whether these laws, which continue to perpetuate discrimination and stigmatization against certain people”.
He said the debate should allow for a “national position … within the context of human rights and within the context of allowing people who may have the HIV virus to come to the fore to get tested and thus receive the management, treatment and the care that is available to them”.
No English-speaking CARICOM country has legislation llowing for same sex marriages.