June 07, 2016
SAVE Our Bahamas committee member Pastor Lyall Bethel claimed yesterday that the organisation was being “brutally victimised” on the eve of the gender equality referendum.
Mr. Bethel outlined several initiatives that were allegedly sidelined by the government in favour of the vote ‘yes’ campaign.
He said the organisation had planned to hold a final prayer meeting in Rawson Square on Monday night, however, the venue had to be moved to Grace Community Church because the YES Bahamas campaign had secured permission from the Cabinet Office to use the public space.
Mr. Bethel said a TV documentary was bumped from a ZNS broadcast, and a rebroadcast was promised but never rescheduled. He further alleged that Save Our Bahamas radio ads on ZNS were also cancelled on Saturday.
The gender equality referendum will be held today from 8am to 6pm.
Bill one seeks to give a Bahamian woman the same rights as a Bahamian man to pass on citizenship to her child born outside of The Bahamas.
Bill two would give a Bahamian woman the same right as a Bahamian man to pass on citizenship to her foreign husband, however this citizenship would not be automatic.
Bill three would give a Bahamian father the same right as a Bahamian mother to pass on citizenship to his child born out of wedlock, provided proof of paternity.
The final bill would make it unconstitutional to discriminate on the grounds of sex, meaning being male or female.
Save Our Bahamas is against the fourth constitutional amendment, and has encouraged Bahamians to vote their conscience on the remaining three bills. The group has fears the fourth bill could lead to same-sex marriage if successful.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Perry Christie made a final push for a ‘yes’ vote.
In a statement, he insisted that the idea of a “hidden agenda” involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community “is crazy.”
He also stressed that gay rights were “not on the ballot” adding that he hoped Bahamians would grow tired of the “paranoid” voices in this debate.
“The only question before the Bahamian people is whether as citizens of our nation, men and women should have equal rights,” Mr. Christie’s statement said. “The first three bills would change the Constitution so that Bahamian men and women would have the right to share citizenship with their family members in the same way. The fourth bill would give both Bahamian men and women a new right to be treated equally under our nation’s laws.”
Polls open at 8am today.
By Ava Turnquest, Tribune Chief Reporter
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