Jamaican gay rights attorney urges Barbados to legalise same-sex marriage

Jamaica-born gays rights advocate Maurice Tomlinson wants same-sex marriage to be legalised in Barbados. (Photo: thestar.com)

Maurice Tomlinson, a regional gay rights advocate, says it is “unfortunate” that well-known public figure and political consultant Peter Wickham could not marry in the country of citizenship.

Tomlinson, a Jamaica-born gay rights advocate working closely with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to have the country’s sodomy laws struck from the Offences Against the Person Act, has sent out a challenge.

Tomlinson challenged Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley to have the administration to go the distance by not only legalising same-sex intimacy but marriage as well.

“Many of our family members are denied the opportunity of partaking in these joyous occasions because of our restrictive laws.”

— Tomlinson

The advocate said that, unlike the popular recommendations of tackling discrimination first and then pushing the handle for same-sex marriage, his position is that there is no need for the Caribbean to proceed that way as there is clear evidence that neither decriminalisation nor marriage equality harms the society.

“They actually help the societies because, for one thing, Caribbean people will now be sure that their partners are with them because they want to be. Partners of the opposite sex will not just be with them because societal pressure forces it,” he was quoted as saying in the Barbados Today newspaper.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley

Tomlinson cited a Bajan – Peter Wickham, who married his partner of 10 years this month in France – stating that it is unfortunate he could not be married in his own country.

“This is very unfortunate considering how we as Caribbean people view family, weddings and marriages. This means that many of our family members are denied the opportunity of partaking in these joyous occasions because of our restrictive laws. But the sheer sadness is just one aspect of our reality,” he reportedly stated.

Tomlinson is married to another male and splits his time between Canada and Jamaica.