St. Vincent: Condemn homosexuality but embrace adultery?

By C. ben-David

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of News784. Send all articles to newsroom@news784.com

The filing on Friday, July 26, by two gay men of court proceedings to challenge St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG’s) “buggery” and “gross indecency” laws, which have criminalised homosexuality since the early days of colonialism has provoked a firestorm of controversy in the country.

This can be seen from the hundreds of Bible-thumping negative comments on Facebook to scrapping these two pieces of archaic and inhumane legislation rooted in the deep seated paranoid antipathy to what is locally called “bulling” among men. Meanwhile, there has always been a general indifference to the even more widespread practice of lesbianism, locally termed “zammie.”

Though this issue will be the talk of the town for some time to come, little attention is being paid to the other constitutional, legal, and moral issues these cases raise.

Like most other Caribbean nations, SVG has a tripartite constitutionally-based separation of powers between the three branches of government: executive (which, among other things, develops and enforces laws), legislative (which passes laws in parliament), and judicial (which rules on the law).

St. Vincent House Speaker Jomo Thomas (Photo courtesy of IWNsvg.com)

There would be a clear conflict of interest if Speaker of the House of Assembly, Jomo Thomas, made a parliamentary ruling in a case that he, barrister Jomo Thomas, has a direct interest in as legal counsel for these two gay plaintiffs. This could well happen if the government (executive) tried to pass a law in parliament aimed at overruling a court decision that the anti-buggery/gross indecency laws are unconstitutional (which they certainly are, as shown in other Caribbean countries with nearly identical constitutions, making this an easy slam-dunk for the petitioners in these two cases).

Equally important, it is only in countries like SVG where a comingling of competing roles is the norm that allow the Speaker and other parliamentarians to continue to practice private law while in public office. Indeed, all parliamentarians who have some side business, including those that might involve gaining government contracts, are allowed to fully control them while in office.

St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves (Photo courtesy of Searchlight.vc)

On the government’s response to these cases, I suspect that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, a champion of human rights, is sympathetic to the plight of unfairly vilified homosexuals in pseudo-puritanical SVG and would try to argue that his hands are tied by the court when it rules that the two relevant laws are unconstitutional. If I am wrong, he could easily hold a referendum on both this issue and the equally vexing capital crime matter to amend the constitution to include the criminalization of homosexuality and the use of executions for those found guilty of murder.

He would do no such thing knowing that they would both net 70-80 percent of the votes cast, in the process placing SVG in the same category with the minority of countries that continue to criminalize homosexuality.

As for the moral-religious issue of homosexuality, I call SVG a pseudo-puritanical country because, contrary to basic Christian teachings, the nation is so pre- and extra-marital hyper-sexualized that: (1) few girls over the age of 15 still have their virginity, (2) some 80 percent of births are to single mothers, (3) many women have children from several different partners, sometimes unsure of who actually fathered their offspring, (4) informal prostitution is so widespread that it is accepted as normal that a man “hand up his hand” [“give money or other gifts”] when engaged in a relationship with a woman that is actually based on mutual attraction and affection even if both parties have the same financial resources, (5) many men of all ages take pride and are praised for bedding two or more women at the same time, and (6) chronic adultery, for love or money, is common among both sexes.

It seems as if SVG’s so-called Christians are deliberately ignorant of or indifferent to the place in Scripture where these acts are mentioned in the same breath and with the exactly the same punishment as homosexuality, namely 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers — none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

The Apostle Paul, chosen by Jesus to spread the Gospel, wrote these words. But his warning has certainly fallen on deaf ears among the countless “unwashed” and “unsanctified” hypocrites in SVG who demonize sodomy while upholding all the other equal sins that the New Testament says will doom them to burn in hell for eternity.

C. ben-David, a retired social sciences professor, is a frequent contributor to online discussions of Caribbean culture, economics, and politics. He uses a pseudonym for security.

8 Comments

  1. KJV Genesis 19
    Lot Entertains Two Angels
    1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
    2 and he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.
    KJV Genesis 19
    5 and they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.KJV Genesis 19
    6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
    7 and said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

    2 Peter 2
    6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
    7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

  2. KJV Romans 13
    Obey the Government
    1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
    2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

  3. KJV John 3
    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
    21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
    Grace and Peace.

    • The unbeliever in st Vincent and the grenadine maybe embrace Adultery just like you satan is the father of of all lies and their is no truth in him just like you Jesus loves you whoever or whatever you are rember Salvation is for your soul.

    • While you take the time to search the scriptures why did you for get this scripture and make mention of it

      Roman 1 :21,28. 29
      because that when they knew God Jehovah they glorified him not as God neither were thankful,but became vain in there imagination and their foolish heart was darkened professing themselves to be wise they become fools and change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptiable man and to birds and four footed beasts and creeping things wherefore God also give them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own heart to dishonour their own bodies between themselves who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator,who is blessed forever.Amen for this cause God Jehovah give them up unto vile affection for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another this is the homosexual act here men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God Jehovah in their knowledge like what is happening now God Jehovah give them over to reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient.

  4. Mr Davis you should have read the book of Romans before you start pointing your finger at our nation Christ shall always be the centre of this nation

  5. Ben you are just trying to sensatuonalize an issue that is abhorrent to 99 percent of the VincentIan population. Why should the minority rule the majority? Adultery is not an accepted philosophy or practice in St Vincent just like homosexuality. Yem we kill no one for the practice. What happened it the bedroom of an individual we care not. However, do change our laws and tell us that Adam can marry Steve as Nigel will want to ram down our throats.

    Any politician who wants to loose power let them change the buggery laws. It’s a recipe for being town out of office. An important issue like that involves a constitutional change and shall be put to the citizens in referendum.

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