June 08, 2016
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham drops his vote in the ballot box during the gender equality referendum yesterday. (Photo: Ahvia J. Campbell)
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham predicted early yesterday that even if bill number four was approved by the electorate, it would have to be brought back to the Bahamian people at some point because it was not retroactive.
There was a resounding no vote in the referendum to all four questions. Again, Ingraham spoke to The Nassau Guardian hours before the polls closed.
Bill four would have made it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex.
Bills one through three dealt specifically with citizenship issues.
Ingraham, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian after voting in polling station number 12 at C. C. Sweeting Senior High School around 9 a.m., suggested the bill should have been made retroactive.
"It is not retroactive. We are not going back from the beginning and giving these rights to everybody from July 10, 1973," he said.
"And so, irrespective of what happens today there will be thousands of people who still claim they were not made equal citizens as a result of this vote.
"One day, whether it is 50 years from now [or] five, 10, a similar vote will be held on the question of gender, number four, in The Bahamas again. Whether I am alive or not, it will happen."
Ingraham said the only way to settle the issue is to remove discrimination completely.
Bill number four was by far the most controversial bill, with many critics claiming it would result in same-sex marriages in The Bahamas.
However, supporters of the bill, including the attorney general, the government, and Prime Minister Perry Christie said nothing could be further from the truth.
Bill one sought to enable a child born outside The Bahamas to become a citizen at birth if either his or her mother or father is a citizen of The Bahamas by birth.
Bill two would have allowed a Bahamian woman who marries a foreign man to pass on citizenship to him in the same way that a Bahamian man who marries a foreign woman is able to do now.
Bill three would have allowed an unmarried Bahamian man to pass on his citizenship to his child born to a foreign mother subject to legal proof that he is the father.
Asked for his prediction on the outcome of yesterday's vote, the former prime minister said he had no idea.
In 2002, the Ingraham administration brought a referendum, which presented similar issues to the electorate for a decision, in addition to other issues.
All the questions on that referendum also failed.
Royston Jones Jr., Guardian Staff Reporter
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