From the Caribbean: ‘Pope’s message on LGBTQ+ is not new and not enough’

LGBTQ+ activists in the Eastern Caribbean welcomed Pope Francis’s recent support for same-sex civil unions, but made clear today that the Pope’s words fell far short of what’s needed.

Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Sourcefed.com)
Pope Francis (Photo courtesy of Sourcefed.com)

The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Inc. (ECADE) issued this press release:

ECADE: Pope’s message on LGBTQ+ is not new and not enough

(Castries, Nov 6, 2020) While welcoming recent comments by Pope Francis, the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Inc. (ECADE), notes that this is not a new position as he has made similar pronouncements in the past. Further, ECADE notes that the message does not go far enough in recognising the full rights to which all people should have access and reminds that same-sex sexual activity is still criminalised in the anglophone Caribbean.

In a documentary “Francesco,” released on Oct. 21, the Pope says of gay people, “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.” This echoes Francis’ comments while serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, when he endorsed civil unions for gay couples. This is the first time he, as pontiff, has come out publicly in favour of civil unions for same-sex couples, which no other pontiff before him has done.

However, ECADE notes that the comment does not extend to acknowledging the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer and other non-hetero-normative people to the full protection offered to heterosexual couples under marriage.

Kenita Placide (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Executive Director Kenita Placide says:

“This is a positive and even earth shaking pronouncement for a region where same-sex adult sexual activity is still criminalised and where the Catholic Church still holds sway. Any statement or action that can help prevent violations and promote respect for our LGBTQ+ family is welcomed. I appreciate that Pope Francis is engaged in a balancing act but we need to see more and are looking forward to words followed by actions.”

The Alliance nonetheless welcomes this statement and the positive impact on the LGBTQ+ community. This is just one more addition to a continuing conversation that has at its heart the full acceptance of LGBTQ+ people as part of our families, our communities, globally.

ECADE is currently challenging anti-gay provisions in the laws of five eastern Caribbean countries as a necessary step in achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBTQ+ community. We agree with Pope Francis’ consistent statements over the years that gay people deserve love, respect and the protection of the law. We continue to advocate for the de-criminalisation and de-stigmatisation of LGBTQ+ status and full inclusion and protection for LGBTQ+ people in every sphere.

The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Inc. (ECADE) is an independent umbrella organisation working to strengthen regional capacity for the security and full recognition of human rights, with a vision of an empowered eastern Caribbean that promotes a culture of human rights, equality, justice and respect for all LGBTQI people. Learn more at www.ecequality.org or follow ECADE on social media @ec_equality.

 

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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