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Windy City Times 2023-12-13
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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Jamaica court upholds sodomy law; activist ends fight in that country
2023-11-01

This article shared 3931 times since Wed Nov 1, 2023
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On Oct. 27, the Jamaica Supreme Court upheld the country's anti-sodomy law, claiming that only Parliament could repeal the statute—and the ruling has resulted in a longtime advocate/attorney ending his fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the Caribbean country.

In a commentary published by 76 Crimes, Maurice Tomlinson wrote, "This British colonially imposed statute condemns consenting gay men to 10 years in prison at hard labour for any acts of intimacy, even holding hands in the privacy of their bedroom." His seeming frustration is compounded by the fact that "similar laws are being struck down across the world, including in the Caribbean."

Tomlinson stated that "[more than] seven years ago I filed a constitutional challenge to this law with the support of the HIV Legal Network. I took up the matter after my previous client dropped the case because of death threats that he and his family had received. Like many gay Jamaicans, this brilliant young man subsequently left the island." He added, "I believed that our courts would still protect vulnerable LGBT people like me against the tyranny of the majority."

He continued, "I am Jamaican by accident of birth. But like the victim of an abusive relationship, I have struggled to remain faithful to my country despite suffering multiple attacks. … Thankfully, I have options and I will exercise them. This means distancing myself from the country. I now live in Canada, where I was forced to flee after multiple death threats that I received because of my same-sex marriage."

Among other things, Tomlinson had served as legal advisor on the boards of the organizations Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL) as well as the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays.

The full column is at 76crimes.com/2023/10/30/jamaican-court-again-rejects-lgbt-rights-jamaican-activist-bows-out/ .

—Andrew Davis


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