The Jamaican parliament will soon be asked to vote on whether the country’s law against male-male sexual relations should be repealed, according to an official in the prime minister’s office.
Sen. Sandrea Falconer, the government’s minister without portfolio who has responsibility for information, told the Jamaica Gleaner that the government will soon ask parliament to take a “conscience vote” on the Buggery Law.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, who took office in January 2012, said during her election campaign that Jamaicans should not discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. She also said she was willing to review the country’s buggery laws, which provide for prison sentences of up to 10 years for male homosexual activity.
LGBT rights activists have criticized Simpson-Miller for not taking the issue to parliament earlier, but others have expressed doubt that the largely anti-gay parliament would repeal the Buggery Law.
The Gleaner stated on June 6:
Senator Falconer told reporters at today’s post-Cabinet press briefing that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller remains committed to her promise on the issue.
In the lead up to the General Elections in 2011 Simpson Miller said she would support a conscience vote in the House of Representatives on reviewing the buggery law.
However, the matter was not a priority on the government’s agenda as it sought to secure a deal with the International Monetary Fund.
Senator Falconer said with the IMF deal out of the way effort is underway to address the matter of the buggery law.
Separately, the Gleaner reported that the Jamaican Supreme Court has scheduled a June 25 hearing on an application by gay rights activist Javed Jaghai, who is seeking to challenge the Buggery Law.
- Buggery law conscience vote for parliament soon (Jamaica Gleaner)
- Dominica buggery laws will not be repealed – PM (dominicanewsonline.com)
- Jamaican TV: Why we reject LGBT tolerance ad (76crimes.com)
- Jamaica gets ‘nudge’ toward repeal of anti-LGBT laws (76crimes.com)