Categorized | National News

Privy Council Liberal On Same Sex Marriage

Noted attorney Brian Moree, QC, acknowledged fears that Bill Number Four could lead to the Privy Council striking down Section 21 of the Matrimonial Clauses Act and opening the door to same-sex marriage in The Bahamas, however, he noted such fears could have been avoided had the government adopted the recommendation of the Constitutional Commission.

Bill number four, the most controversial of the four bills being put before voters at the June 7 Gender Equality Referendum, seeks to end discrimination on the basis of sex.

The bill has been met though with considerable opposition as fears persist that its passage would somehow lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

Mr. Moree, who appeared Sunday as a guest on Jones and Company, said while he does not believe that adding the word “sex” to Article 26 which sets out the grounds prohibiting discrimination will lead to same-sex marriage, he does understand the fears that some may have.

“It’s grounded in the argument that if you add sex to the definition of discriminatory that would be a crack in the door which a liberal activist court might well interpret in a way which would render Section 21 of the Matrimonial Clauses Act unconstitutional,” Mr. Moree said.

“There are very few lawyers in my view who I have spoken with that would disagree with the basic observation that the Privy Council is a liberal activist court on secular issues. That is a fair assessment.”

Mr. Moree said the government could have avoided the controversy which Bill Four has sparked and allayed fears of its passage leading to same sex marriage had it adopted the language in Recommendation 25 from the Constitutional Commission.

That recommendation states: “that an amendment be made to Article 26(4) to provide that no law which makes provisions prohibiting same-sex marriage or which provides for such marriages to be unlawful or void shall be held inconsistent with the constitution.”

This is the argument that opponents of Bill Four have made repeatedly and one Mr. Moree agreed has to be examined.

“If this bill in its language had reflected the recommendation of the Constitutional Commission, we would not be having this debate and this bill in my view would have been less controversial and highly likely to pass,” Mr. Moree said. “So in my view, it is unfortunate that they [the government] didn’t follow the recommendation of the Constitutional Commission -not fatal, but unfortunate because it has left room for this debate.

“I think the recommendation of the Constitutional Commission was a very wise and very sensible and helpful recommendation.

“I don’t think that by adding the word sex to Article (26) is necessarily going to lead the way to same-sex marriage, but I understand the concerns and the fears that many have.

“I think that we would have displaced those fears by using the language in the recommendation of the Constitutional Commission. But at the end of the day, we now have to meet these issues in order to try and inform the Bahamian people so they can make a decision.”


Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook