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Lashley firm on homosexuality

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Lashley firm on homosexuality

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BARBADOS WILL NOT surrender its values and change laws on homosexuality, Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley says.
Lashley’s comment came against the background of public debate sparked by a statement from Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia.
Cameron threatened to withhold British aid from governments that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality. Since then, there have been a number of people calling on the Barbados Government to conform.
Lashley said that homosexuality was not illegal in Barbados; it was the act of buggery that warranted a charge. He pointed out that as the minister with responsibility for family he did not agree with those who were calling for the laws concerning homosexuality to be changed.
He was responding to questions from the media following a brief presentation at his Warrens, St Michael office on Monday.
“I believe we are literally at the crossroads in a number of issues that are impacting on us that are globally driven,” he told reporters. “The question is: are we going to surrender our tried and tested values for all these things that are now becoming the flavour of the international community? I say no.
“I think we have to chart a path based on our very rich traditions of morality and all the things that have kept us strong for the past 45 years.
“I think when we talk about [legislation concerning] homosexuality we have to individually ask ourselves whether we would want [to tell] our children they could be [homosexuals] or it is fine to have a career as a prostitute. Is that something we want for our children?”
He added: “I know the whole question of homosexuality has been a topical issue in the public domain. It is a very highly charged issue and, of course, the questions of the moral issues involved in homosexuality will continue to be debated in Barbados for many years.”
He said the ministry had never embraced a policy that discriminated against any citizen of Barbados.
“In the context of the HIV/AIDS Commission”, the “approach” had been to preach tolerance and to ensure Barbados did not end up as a society that discriminates against anyone “for any persuasion”.
“So just as I am a proponent of not preaching discrimination I am a protector of our young people and I believe we have to be very bold to give them good examples and to protect them from various influences which as far as I am concerned will only act to their detriment,” he commented. (MM)