Signs of Caribbean progress for Catholics, LGBT rights

25 May

76 crimes on May 24, 2013 by 

Congrats to the new Dominican LGBT group Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom) and their leader, Daryl Philip, for continuing a robust discussion on human rights for LGBT on the island.

Some may remember that Dominica made the headlines when two gay Americans were arrested for sex on the balcony of their cruise ship.

MiriDom is localizing the issue of human rights for LGBT through an innovative approach of using the Catholic church to call for decriminalization. Dominicans are overwhelmingly Catholic.

MiriDom also has an ongoing poster campaign, supported by AIDS-Free World, which calls for respect of human rights for all Dominicans. These posters are placed in local watering holes, etc. and have generated a good amount of discussion on what human rights means.

In today’s Dominica News article on MiriDom, the group stated:

We were most impressed with the Bishop’s statement that ‘The Catholic Church maintains that free sexual acts between adult persons must not be treated as crimes to be punished by civil authorities’ as this addresses MiriDom’s concerns.

The Bishop clarified the Catholic Church’s position on the criminalization of same sex intimacy among consenting adults by stating: ‘I wish to make it clear that the Catholic Church in Dominica adheres to the call of the Holy See ‘to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as to urge all States to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them’.

It is now clear that one of the oldest and the largest religious denominations in Dominica – and a major contributor to social and educational systems in Dominica – would support an end to criminal penalties against homosexuals.

The article added, “MiriDom says it looks forward to further fruitful discussions with the Bishop on the matter.”

About Maurice Tomlinson

Maurice Tomlinson is Legal Advisor, Marginalized Groups for the international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World. He is the inaugural winner of the David Kato Vision and Voice Award and has been involved in HIV and AIDS and LGBTI activism in the Caribbean for over 12 years. An attorney-at-law, he is leading and supporting legal challenges to repeal anti-sodomy and homophobic laws around the Caribbean.

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