Less than a week after the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) released its May 24 election manifesto in which it explicitly states that it has no policy on same-sex unions, the party’s St Thomas candidate, Cynthia Forde, is assuring that if elected, the BLP will not be pursuing any gay agenda.
“Nobody in the Barbados Labour Party is interested in any same sex marriage. We have neighbours that believed in same sex. They were discreet, both man and woman, we tolerated them, we have learned to tolerate people, [but] I am not interested in any man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman. That is their private life. Do what they feel like in their bedrooms, but do not bring that as part of the Barbados Labour Party’s agenda.
“We are not interested and we are not pursuing it as a Government at all,” Forde assured during a political meeting at Redman’s Village, St Thomas on Tuesday night which followed the release of the party’s 70-page manifesto last Thursday in which the BLP said it had no policy on same-sex unions and that the matter would have to be put to a national referendum.
“We have said that repeatedly. We believe that no 30 people should be allowed to make decisions on issues that go to the heart of the nation’s collective values. This issue can only be determined by the outcome of a referendum,” the BLP manifesto states.
However, while responding to comments made by Minister of Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe on the controversial topic, Forde either intentionally or unintentionally ended up articulating a similar position to that of Lowe, who, in putting the issue of same sex marriage squarely before the electorate in the lead up to next week’s poll, declared stiff opposition on his part and that of the incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to any such unions.
“I stand in opposition to any attempt to legalize same sex marriage in Barbados. I stand firmly against it. If you want to do that [be involved in a same-sex relationship], do it in the privacy of your home. Don’t tell me there is going to be a law that will tell me I have to be subjected to that,” he said during a meeting at Carter’s Gap, Christ Church on Monday night.
It was not the first time that Lowe was publicly denouncing what he saw as advocacy to legally wed persons of the same gender.
However, on this occasion he went to greater lengths to explain his strident position on the issue, over which he had warned exactly a year ago that “there is an attempt in certain quarters to advance a legislative call for same-sex marriage, and I do not have any intention, within or without the legislator to support any such notion because I still believe in the biblical way of life”.
To that he added a further caution that “there is to be no law in Barbados saying that I have to be subjected to two men walking up an aisle, one in a wedding dress and one in a tuxedo.
“I don’t want to live in that kind of Barbados and that is what we are fighting right now,” he said.
“I don’t want them telling me how to live in my society by creating a law in the statutory books saying that I have to accept a man marrying a man. I am not doing it and I don’t care who don’t agree with me, that is my personal opinion,” the Minister of Environment and Drainage stressed.
However, while accusing Lowe of being fixated with the subject, Forde suggested that there were much more urgent matters – including the current shortage of garbage trucks – for the Cabinet minister to attend to.
“I don’t know how that [same-sex unions] got in his agenda or the Democratic Labour Party’s agenda . . . . His mantra is that Barbados under the Democratic Labour Party’s watch will not have same sex marriage . . . . That is all he saying all the time.”
However, she said her party was far more interested in dealing with the issues that matter to the people.
“We are focusing on the NSRL [National Social Responsibility Levy] that is killing the people. We are focusing on him [Lowe] coming in for ten years and has not bought a sanitation truck and every six weeks we got to be picking up garbage, the rats, the bush and everything that bad in rural buses,” the St Thomas candidate said.
She also blasted the DLP for not having enough conversations with the people on critical decisions.
“When we [BLP] were looking at gambling we had to have a referendum on it. When it came to abortion we had to go across the length of Barbados to discuss it. When it was capital punishment we had to go in Barbados and open up the dialogue. That is a part of the agenda that Ms Mottley has in our manifesto that we have dialogue with people,” Forde stressed.