October 26, 2016
THE Registrar General’s Department yesterday said it “has never issued a license for a same sex marriage to be solemnised in The Bahamas,” after erroneous online reports surfaced over the weekend about a purported marriage of a lesbian couple.
The statement from the department came a day after Deputy Registrar Ron Pinder defended a couple he married on the weekend against social media attacks after it was spuriously spread online that the two were lesbians. The union is an heterosexual one between a man and woman.
“In The Bahamas, the Department of the Registrar General is the government agency of record responsible for issuing marriage licenses,” the statement said. “The Registrar General’s Department has never issued a license for a same sex marriage to be solemnised in The Bahamas.”
“The Matrimonial Causes Act legislates that a marriage shall be void if the parties are not respectively male and female,” the statement said. “Accordingly, any ceremony conducted in The Bahamas, purporting to join in marriage two persons of the same sex would not be recognised as a marriage in accordance with the laws of The Bahamas.”
Over the weekend, Mr. Pinder, a former Progressive Liberal Party MP for Marathon, officiated at the wedding of Alfred and Rickia Pratt. Shortly after, a picture of the couple spread on social media with many speculating that the groom was a woman, prompting uproar and vicious commentary from those who are opposed to gay marriage.
The couple at the centre of the controversy was shocked at how quickly their photo spread on social media. However, Mr. Pratt, at a press conference on Monday, stressed that despite his appearance, he is not a woman.
“My name is Alfred Arlington Pratt,” he said. “I was born a male. As you can see, I’m just fat.”
Mrs. Pratt, who is legally blind, said the couple had dealt with misconceptions like this in the past. She added that her husband always has to flash his identification to people to prove that he is a man.
Mr. Pinder also emphatically stressed his own heterosexuality, telling reporters that despite speculation to the contrary, he is “not a sissy” or a “punk.” He said he too has been the subject of attack due to speculation about his sexuality.
By Nico Scavella, Tribune Staff Reporter
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