Disappointed. That’s how Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso) executive director Colin Robinson summed up religious leaders call yesterday for Government to amend the Marriage Act and to not amend Equal Opportunity Act to accommodate the LGBTI community.
“The faith leaders who spoke this afternoon have lost their way. They gathered to oppose discrimination protection for a vulnerable minority who were thrown out of their apartments, homes and fired from their jobs in April after the court’s ruling,” Robinson told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview, adding the proposals would result in the LGBTI community finding other places to worship.
“LGBTI people are people of faith. We pray like everybody else. We will just form our own congregation and worship there. If faith is not going to be relevant in people’s lives, then they would not turn to those faiths.”
Robinson said he was very disappointed in the Catholic church and Archbishop Jason Gordon for discriminating against their community.
“I am disappointed in a young Archbishop who doesn’t have the mettle of leadership that his predecessor had.”
He, however, tipped his hat to the leaders who did not show up at the meeting.
“The faith leaders have proven that they have lost their way and they are becoming less and less relevant in the lives of the LGBTI people. That is the message they sent.”
While the leaders said they are representing 90 per cent of the Hindus, Muslims, Catholics and Seventh-Day Adventists, Robinson said the State needs to protect the 10 per cent of the population “regardless who they are.” He said the LGBTI represents a conservative estimate of 35,000 adults, which says something.
Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) chairman Lynette Seebaran-Suite last night agreed that the act needs to be broadened to protect everyone in society.
Speaking on CNC3 on religious leaders’ call that Government not emend the EOC Act to accommodate the LGBTQI community, Seebaran-Suite said the Constitution also protects people’s private lives.
“If you feel that one of your constitutional rights is being infringed you can bring a constitutional motion against the Government. But that is only if the Government is infringing your right. But if it is a private employer or between one individual and another individual it will be society even though we have the bill of right. There is no remedy to enforce your right not to be discriminated against.”
She admitted, however, there are many areas of activity where one is not protected from discrimination on the basis of one’s sexual orientation.
“That is why the Equal Opportunities Commission has been calling for an amendment to our act to broaden the definition of sex because the definition sex does not include sexual orientation.”
She said she has a strong feeling that T&T does not believe the act is fair, reasonable and constitutional.