Government has revealed that it is prepared to “recognise a form of civil unions for couples of the same gender” so as to ensure that no human being in Barbados will be discriminated against, in exercise of civil rights that ought to be theirs.
However, Governor General Dame Sandra Mason who made the announcement during this morning’s Throne Speech, at the opening of the new session of Parliament held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, emphasised that “my Government is not allowing any form of same sex marriage, and will put this matter to a public referendum.
“My Government will accept and be guided by the vote of the public as promised in the manifesto,” Dame Sandra stated.
The Governor General explained that legal systems of modern societies recognise many different forms of human relationships and Barbados was now “increasingly finding itself on international lists”, including within the multilateral system, which identify the country as having a poor human rights record.
“Barbados does not conduct business, trade with itself or give itself loan funding. In some cases, our human rights record, when viewed against modern international standards, impacts these other issues and how we are viewed amongst the global family of nations.
“On this matter, the world has spoken. If we wish to be considered amongst the progressive nations of the world, Barbados cannot afford to lose its international leadership place and reputation. Nor can a society as tolerant as ours, allow itself to be ‘blacklisted’ for human and civil rights abuses or discrimination on the matter of how we treat to human sexuality and relations.
“My government will do the right thing, understanding that this too will attract controversy. Equally, it is our hope that with the passage of time, the changes we now propose will be part of the fabric of our country’s record of law, human rights and social justice,” Dame Sandra said.