Haiti's Senate has passed a measure that would ban same-sex marriage in the country, as well as “public demonstration of support” for homosexuality.
The bill, which Senate President Youri Latortue said reflects the will of the Haitian people, stipulates that “the parties, co-parties, and accomplices” of a same-sex marriage may be sentenced to up to three years in prison and fined the equivalent of $8,000.
The Haiti Sentinel reported that “the proposed law affects Haitian nationals and foreigners, according to Senator Cantave, who openly criticized the LGBT (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transsexual) community. This community has become the target for public blame for “‘everything bad’ that occurs in that Caribbean nation,” Cantave was quoted as saying.
Noted the Sentinel: “The bill began to be debated in July after the Senate passed a resolution denying members of [the LGBT] community a ‘Certificate of Good Life and Morals,’ a document needed to do much in the country.”
“All senators are opposed to same-sex marriage, so this simply reflects the commitments the senators made during their campaigns,” Latortue said of the vote. He noted that the nation is deeply influenced by conservative religious convictions. “Although the state is secular, it is people of faith who are the majority,” he said. “A country has to focus on its values and traditions. Some people in other countries see it differently, but in Haiti, that’s how it’s seen.”
Haitian law already defines marriage as only between a man and woman.
Haiti's small homosexual activist contingent quickly condemned the bill, with Charlot Jeudy of the pro-homosexual group Kouraj saying, “We see this as an attack on the LGBT community in this country. This text divides our society and reinforces prejudices and discrimination. It’s really a shame.”
Jeudy predicted that passage of the bill into law “will bring much more violence and prejudice against the LGBTI community.”
The bill is now in the hands of Haiti's Chamber of Deputies, and if it is passed there it will go to Haiti's president for his signature into law.