'Facts do not support pastors'

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April 19, 2016

Supporters and members of Save Our Bahaams gathered in Rawson Square last night to pray for the success of their efforts in the upcoming constitutional referendum. (Photo: Torrell Glinton)

As pastors against the fourth question in the approaching constitutional referendum were praying in Rawson Square last night for success in their efforts, the government-backed YES Bahamas campaign upped its push, insisting in a statement that the facts do not support the contention of the 'Save Our Bahamas' group.

The group is being led by Pastor Mario Moxey of Bahamas Harvest Church, Pastor Lyall Bethel of Grace Community Church, Rev. Alfred Stewart of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church and popular talk show host Kevin "Minister K" Harris.

They are urging a vote against the fourth bill, which would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex -- defined as a biological male or female.

YES Bahamas -- led by Senate President Lady Sharon Wilson and former Senate President Lynn Holowesko -- said the pastors' opposition is "tantamount to a rejection of equal rights for our sons and daughters".

The statement noted that Moxey told The Nassau Guardian on Saturday that, "The reason why we're focused on bill number four is that we feel it would open the door to same-sex marriage."

YES Bahamas said, "The pastor may 'feel' that way, but the facts do not support him.

"The Constitution of The Bahamas prohibits racial and religious discrimination in Article 26.

"The proposed amendment (number four) would ensure that the same article also prohibits discrimination against men or women.

"That would simply mean that men and women cannot be treated less favorably than the other under any law or act by public officials and that Parliament would be prevented from passing new laws that would discriminate against men or women."

The statement added, "Bahamian men and women have the same responsibilities as citizens; they should have the same rights as well.

"Any suggestion that giving men and women equal rights would somehow lead to same-sex marriage does not have any basis in fact or law.

"The lawyers who drafted amendment four went out of their way to guide future courts, by defining 'sex' as 'male or female', so that no judge could interpret 'sex' as 'sexual orientation'."

But the pastors are urging Bahamians to say no to the fourth question and to vote their conscience on the other three questions, which address citizenship matters.

"We see this as opening that door [to same-sex marriage]," Moxey said.

"Once we allow this to happen, as you know, our high courts are not in The Bahamas. Our high courts are in England where the social philosophy in England right now is they're very liberal and they're proponents of same-sex marriage, so there is no doubt in our own hearts and minds about whether they would rule in favor of same-sex marriage."

YES Bahamas noted last night that Moxey was quoted as saying, "It's a matter of chess moves and how you play this game in order to be successful."

YES Bahamas said, "This is no game; this is our country, and to sow the seeds of doubt among Bahamians as to what is at stake in this referendum is serious indeed."

The statement said, "We are leading this campaign for our sons and daughters, for our grandsons and our granddaughters.

"We want them to grow up in a Bahamas in which they are offered the same rights in the constitution and the same protections under the law."

The referendum is set for June 7.

Another group of pastors who support the referendum is expected to hold a press conference today to urge a yes vote.

Candia Dames

Guardian Managing Editor

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 04/19/2016    Category : About Bahamians, Nassau Guardian Stories

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