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Trinidad moves toward protecting gay rights

Ramona Ramdial, minister and member of parliament in Trinidad

Ramona Ramdial, minister and member of parliament in Trinidad

Change appears to be on the way in Trinidad and Tobago, which is one of many Caribbean countries with anti-homosexuality laws still on the books.

The government is preparing to act on a proposal to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the Trinidad Guardian.

The newspaper reported:

Laws which would have to be amended to bring them in line with the proposed gender policy include the Equal Opportunity Act, which does not outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation; the Immigration Act, which allows the exclusion of homosexuals from T&T; and the Sexual Offences Act.

Current Trinidadian law provides for prison sentences of up to 25 years for homosexual activity.

“The gender policy has been drafted from a human-rights perspective, and is more about equal opportunities.” said Ramona Ramdial, a minister of gender, child and youth development.

“Whether we say it or not, [gay rights are] already an informal part of our society,” she said.

She said gay-rights groups in Trinidad have expressed more concern about discrimination than in the issue of same-sex marriage.

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