Sunday 1st May, 2005


‘Lawyers for Jesus’ oppose sexual legislation

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By Giselle Morris

Lawyers for Jesus are calling on the Government to withdraw its Draft National Gender Policy, which the group has described as deceptive and legislation of alternative sexuality.

The draft policy includes a definition of five genders and proposals to regulate same-sex marriage, abortion and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In response, Lawyers for Jesus framed a petition calling on Government to withdraw the document and hold discussions with “right-thinking people” before formulating a new policy.

A panel of attorneys including Patricia Roberts and Hyacinth Griffith met yesterday with representatives from various christian churches at Christ Castle, Chase Village, Chaguanas, to discuss the social implications of the draft.

Addressing the gathering, Griffith said the policy provided legislation for alternative sexuality.

Calling for churches to stand united in opposition to the document, she said the gender policy was not in keeping with the Bible.

“It is no longer male and we have a grouping of sexual classifications according to practices that are not the will of God,” Griffith said to a chorus of “Amen” from the audience.

During her presentation Roberts slammed the draft, describing it as “fatally flawed.”

“We say no to abortion on demand for incest or rape. We can have no comprise, from the time of conception it is a baby, not an “it”,” she said.

Roberts said the policy would allow women who were mentally ill, carrying children with birth defects, or whose contraception failed, to access abortions.

She said the proposed policy suggested that medical practitioners could be fined if they refused to carry out the procedure.

On the topic of same-sex marriage, Jason Grant, a paralegal and member of Lawyers for Jesus, said the draft policy could open the floodgates for homosexual nuptials.

T&T’s Marriage Act, Grant said, does not define marriage, but made provisions for marriage officers to perform nuptials according to common law.

He said the draft policy neutralised the issue of gender for marriage and, “if you erase genetic definition of what gender is, it opens the floodgates for other types of marriage and a legal re-definition of the family.”

“There is concern legalising same-sex marriages could lead to lawsuits to force churches to perform marriages they do not approve of. It could bankrupt the church,” said Grant.

In defence of the document, a Ministry of Gender Affairs employee who attended the meeting but refused to give her name said, “The policy does not have an agenda of promoting same-sex marriages or abortions.”

She said when formulation of the document began in 2003, “the church did not speak.”

“The church does not always speak, but others will come out and speak,” she said.

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