April 19, 2016
Some of the pastors who pushed for a no vote in the 2013 gambling referendum have formed Save Our Bahamas, urging Bahamians to reject the fourth question on the June 7 referendum. That proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit discrimination based on sex.
"The reason why we're focused on bill number four is because we feel that it opens the door to same-sex marriage, and as a result of that this is a moral issue as such," said Pastor Mario Moxey, Bahamas Harvest Church, to The Nassau Guardian. "And because it is a moral issue, we feel that it's important for the church to voice their concern, and so that is what we are doing."
Moxey, Pastor Lyall Bethel, Grace Community Church; Rev. Alfred Stewart, New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, and talk show host Kevin "Minister K" Harris, spoke to The Nassau Guardian on Saturday and held a press conference at Grace Community Church on Sunday.
Parliament passed four constitutional referendum bills several weeks ago, paving the way for the referendum on gender equality. It is our view that the pastors are misguided in their paranoia that bill four will lead to same-sex marriage. That is not what it is about. The bill seeks to end gender-based discrimination.
While we disagree with the pastors, we respect their right to voice their opinions in this democratic exercise. What we find bizarre is their request for government funding of their cause.
"Seeing that the government has appointed the yes vote campaign, in all fairness in our democratic nation, the Save Our Bahamas campaign will be delivering a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister requesting an initial seed funding of $100,000 to assist the vote no campaign in delivering its message," the group said in a press statement.
The government is of the view that these bills will help expand equality in The Bahamas. Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition agrees with the government. The government has fought for this process. It has been attacked over this process. Why would it fund the other side?
If the pastors believe in their cause they should seek funding from like-minded people. The government has a responsibility to do all it can to win this vote. This is an adversarial process. The yes and no sides are battling to different preferred outcomes. Neither should help the other. Too much is at stake.
The pastors' request makes them seem unprepared for an organized fight. We hope the yes side is more organized so it can present the right side of this debate to the Bahamian people, ensuring all four questions pass and become part of our supreme law.
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