Coordinator of local group, Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom), Daryl Phillip is asserting the right of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community to exist and have sexual expression.
He spoke to Dominica News Online (DNO) in response to a recent statement made by District Superintendent of the Christian Union Churches of Dominica, Pastor Lennox Timothy on the growing concerns of the LGBTT global movement. Pastor Timothy presented a biblical view to Dominica as a “measuring line” of this development.
“The pastor has a right to defend his belief as he sees it and the LGBT community in Dominica has a right to ask, to seek the right to exist, the right to sexual expression which has been made illegal,” Phillip said.
“You cannot intrude on peoples rights and tell them it is because the bible says so. The matter going to the court is a matter of human rights and human dignity; it is not a matter of biblical belief. So the pastor is free to quote his bible but quoting his bible does not make the community freer or a little more livable for the LGBT community. It actually makes it worse and impedes on people rights to expression,” Phillip insisted
In the court matter which Phillip refers to, a gay man has filed a case in the High Court of Justice in Dominica challenging the country’s laws criminalizing “buggery” and other sexual activity between consenting partners, “including and in particular, partners of the same sex, as violating numerous rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Dominica.
A press release titled “Constitutional challenge to Dominica’s laws criminalizing LGBTQ people”issued by MiriDom states that the claimant is challenging two sections of the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) of Dominica; Section 16 criminalizes “buggery” which the Act defines as anal sex between two men or between a man and a woman and Section 14, which is a sweeping law criminalizing “gross indecency,” which is defined as any act (other than penile-vaginal sex).
Phillip argues that Dominica should be guided by all biblical sayings, not one.
“There are a lot of things that the bible states that they are not talking about. There should be a law against fornication, adultery, eating pork… so it’s kind of being hypocritical… and that is the thing the minority rights Dominica is fighting for… and our society should be big enough to recognize that this is impeding on a certain set of people and they need to be given the right to exist, to express themselves like everybody else.”
MiriDom claims in its release, that these laws have caused discrimination and violence towards the LGBT community.
“For many years, evidence has been mounting of the harms caused to Dominicans by criminalizing LGBT people, including the stigma, discrimination and violence encouraged by such laws,” the release states. “The continued criminalization of consensual sex by LGBT people through the gross indecency and anti-buggery laws, and the broader abuses against LGBT Dominicans to which such criminalization contributes, have damaged too many lives — and continue to do so every day. These are the lives not only of LGBT Dominicans, but also of their family members and friends who have lost loved ones to violence or AIDS, or when those facing persecution have sought asylum elsewhere.”
It added that the goal of this legal claim is to end the criminalization of any consensual sexual activity between persons above the age of consent, in particular the criminalization of consensual sex between partners of the same sex.