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Dominica leader: No enforcement of anti-gay law

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (Photo courtesy of CaribbeanTrakker.com)
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (Photo courtesy of CaribbeanTrakker.com)

Dominica does not enforce its law against homosexual activity, at least in private homes, and has no plans to do so, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says.
In a recent statement to the Caribbean Media Corporation, the Dominica leader denied reports that police have threatened to arrest people at home during  same-sex intercourse.
“This has never happened in Dominica and I don’t think that will be happening any time now or later,” he said.
On paper, same-sex intimacy is illegal both for men and women in the Caribbean island nation. Dominican law provides for a 10-year prison sentence for anal intercourse whether involving heterosexual or homosexual couples.
Skerrit says that law is not enforced in private homes, and will not be.
In 2012, a gay couple from Palm Springs, California, were arrested in Dominica after police said they were seen having sex on the balcony of their cabin during a gay cruise that was in port in Dominica. They were released from jail after pleading guilty to indecent exposure.
Location of Dominica in the eastern Caribbean.
Location of Dominica in the eastern Caribbean.

In addition, Pink News reports as recently as 2001, 15 women were arrested for same-sex sexual acts, charged with the crime of gross indecency, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. That same year, 10 men were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for engaging in same-sex activity, Pink News said.
The CMC reported that the local activist group, Minority Rights Dominica, or MiriDom, is seeking repeal of Dominica’s buggery law as a form of discrimination against people because of their sexual preferences.
Skerrit said he would meet with the group to discuss its recommendations.
“We are prepared to meet with MiriDom at any time. We will seek to contact them again and arrange for the Minister for Social Services and myself to meet and discuss with them,” he said.
Also in the interview, Skerrit said his government is opposed to same-sex marriage.
“We will never allow for the state to recognise same-sex marriage in our country. If other countries want to do it, that’s a matter for them but there are certain guiding principles that we must follow,” he said.

 

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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