|Concerns about PM statement re Church and Gender Policy – Sep 26|
Archbishop of Port of Spain Rev. Joseph Harris views with concern some comments attributed to the Hon. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in New York, as reported in the local news media.
The Hon. Prime Minister is reported as having said that a gender policy was drafted by the previous PNM administration but did not see the light of day “because the previous Government faced many persons who were against issues for decriminalising gays”. She is reported as saying that her administration circulated a gender policy for public comment but “again it faced tremendous opposition, especially from the Roman Catholic group”. The Prime Minister is said to have identified two issues: “The decriminalising but also the issue of discrimination, that they should not be discriminated against by reason of their preferences, their sexual orientation.”
The alleged statement would seem to suggest that the Catholic Church in TT is leading a campaign for the continuation of discrimination against members of the Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual and Transgender community. This is totally false.
The Catholic Church is one of several faith communities in Trinidad and Tobago which has raised objections to the Draft Gender Policy, and this was done at meetings organised by the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development in April and May 2013. Concerns about the Draft Gender Policy were raised at these consultations by representatives of various Christian denominations. Therefore, any singling out of the Catholic Church as an objector is most regrettable.
On the issue of homosexuality, the Church has made known its position that it views homosexual acts as being “contrary to the natural law” and that “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357 & 2358).
Further, the Catholic Church has made it clear that such persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Archbishop Harris wishes to restate these positions.