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Catholic bishop in Dominica: End anti-homosexuality laws

Bishop Gabriel Malzaire
Bishop Gabriel Malzaire

Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Dominica, has called for the elimination of criminal penalties for homosexuality and an end to “all forms of violence” against LGBT people.

Malzaire’s position, he stated in a Dominica News commentary, is consistent with the Catholic Church’s overall position:

I wish to make it clear that the Catholic Church in Dominica adheres to the call of the Holy See in its statement to the 63rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the Declaration of Human Rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, “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. …”

The Catholic Church maintains that free sexual acts between adult persons must not be treated as crimes to be punished by civil authorities.

Dominica is one of several Caribbean countries where homosexual activity is a criminal offense. The anti-homosexuality law provides for prison sentences of up to 10 years for consensual same-sex relations.

Malzaire’s statement came in response to a statement by the LGBT rights group Minority Rights Dominica, which complained that the church had not made its position clear about that law.

Two men on a gay cruise were arrested in Dominica in March 2012 after police were told they were seen engaging in sex on board their cruise ship. They were released after pleading guilty to indecent exposure.

Malzaire emphasized his support of other Roman Catholic doctrines such as opposition to (though not criminalization of):

  • Same-sex marriage.
  • Adoption of children by same-sex couples.
  • Homosexual activity.  Malzaire said that, “according to Holy Scriptures, [it] is among many wrongs which, if not controlled, can lead to spiritual death. Among these are adultery, fornication, orgies, calumny, deep seated hatred, and the like (cf. Rom 13:13; Gal 5:16-21).”
  • The use of the phrase “sexual orientation and gender identity.”  Malzaire said regarding the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, “The Vatican specifically objected to the declaration’s use of the term sexual orientation and gender identity, which it said had no established meaning in international law.”

For more information, read his full commentary: “Decriminalization of homosexuality – what it means for the Catholic Church in Dominica.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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