April 19, 2016
Former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MP Philip Galanis said yesterday the "vote no" campaign launched by several pastors opposed to bill number four in the upcoming constitutional referendum, is "a distraction from what the referendum is intended to change in the country".
Galanis, who plans to vote yes on all the questions, thinks people who are concerned about bill four leading to same-sex marriage are confusing the issue, which is going to cause a lot of "unnecessary concern to the homophobic community".
Bill four would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex -- which is defined as a biological male or female.
"I think there is a degree if homophobia in this country that is going to overcome a reasonable approach to this that has nothing to do with same-sex marriage," Galanis said.
On Sunday, a group of pastors announced the formation of the 'Save Our Bahamas' committee to lobby against bill four.
The group includes 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 say they will urge their congregations to vote their conscience on the first three questions -- which directly address citizenship issues and are intended to level the field for Bahamian males and females.
But the pastors believe that bill number four would lead to same-sex marriages.
"The only thing to do with the ambiguity with that word 'sex' being thrown around is no is the safest vote to vote," Bethel said.
But Galanis said, "The wording clearly says that sex means male and female -- that's not hard to understand."
Galanis added that he thinks 'YES Bahamas', the recently launched 'vote yes' campaign, has a lot of work to do to educate Bahamians about all the bills and ensure that the majority of Bahamians vote for them rather than against them.
"It's a complete and total distraction and that's why I think it's going to be important for the supporters of the 'vote yes' campaign to make completely clear what every single one of the questions deal with, and to dismiss and disabuse persons of any misconceptions or any misinformation that might be out there," he said.
Galanis said the best way to get Bahamians to understand that bill four would not lead to same-sex marriage is to be repetitive in the message and explain very thoroughly what that bill means.
On Saturday, Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Sean McWeeney said some of the people against question four on the ballot for the June 7 constitutional referendum are not genuinely concerned about the amendment possibly leading to same-sex marriage, but are in their hearts opposed for another reason, which they simply are too embarrassed to admit.
"My own view fundamentally is that this is a smokescreen," McWeeney said.
"I think there are a lot of people in this country who just do not accept the fundamental truth that men and women are equal, but I think they're too embarrassed to say it, so they look for an issue like same-sex marriage to hang their hat on. That's my honest view."
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News date : 04/19/2016 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories