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Govt to make decision on gay and lesbian marriages

By Gyasi Gonzales and Julien Neaves

GOVERNMENT is currently looking into the issue of gay and lesbian marriages and a decision will be made public at some point, said Foreign Affairs and Communications Minister Suruj Rambachan.

"It is a matter being discussed by the Government at the moment and I'm sure that sooner or later you will be provided by a policy decision on such matters," he said.

He was speaking yesterday at the post-Cabinet media briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. His statements were in response to a question about this Government's policy on same-sex marriage in light of the recent announcement by US President Barack Obama that he was in support of it, the first sitting president to do so. Same-sex marriage is legal in some US states but is not legal in Trinidad and Tobago.

Colin Robinson of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) said yesterday that his group applauded Obama's statement that the gay and lesbian community should be allowed to marry like everyone else.

IDAHO is celebrated by more than 50 countries around the world and it is the date which marks the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In an interview with the Express yesterday, Robinson said, "I applaud President Obama for what he said because he framed it in a context of equality and what's fascinating to me even though marriage is not on CAISO's advocacy agenda is appears that the leaders in our hemisphere and especially Jamaican Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller are taking locally appropriate leadership steps on equality and citizenship and for gay and lesbian people."

He said that he hoped Obama would not pay a political price for his stance, adding that Obama's statement made political sense and, "we are hoping that our Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar takes locally appropriate steps as well."

"On Friday, we will ask the Prime Minister to take a leadership action on this issue as the gay and lesbian community are not covered by the Equal Opportunity Act. In fact we are written out of it because sexual orientation is totally not covered."

Robinson added, "We are a secular state. We are not Iran. We are not under Sharia law."

He added that over the years opinions and traditions have changed.

"At one time, we never used to play soca during Lent but now it is all over the place right through the year," said Robinson.

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