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Why not start ‘same sex relationship’ debate?

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Editor: Senator Frederick makes the point that a national conversation is in order regarding same sex relations, at least in part due to impending considerations regarding aid from countries that have already regularized same sex relations.{{more}}

I would point out that, more importantly, tourism related businesses and commercial enterprises are increasingly repelled by environments that have and enforce laws that prosecute or discriminate in any way against same sex relations. One need only refer to the recent case in the US, where a state passed a law that would allow businesses to use religious belief as an excuse to refuse to do business with homosexuals. Major corporations, businesses and athletic institutions threatened to cancel expansion plans or pull out of the state entirely. They knew that their customers, existing or potential, as well as some of their best employees, present or future, were gay, sympathetic to or supportive of gay initiatives. It would be cutting their own throats to seek to remain in such an environment. A number of other states, that were about to, or had recently passed similar legislation, are scrambling to undo it, as boycotts and protests have been mounting.

This country needs to talk about the issue in open debate, and the Government needs to decide what our future course will be: to continue to be passed over by the very businesses that could provide economic growth and job opportunities (do you think that Martinique, which has enjoyed a 524 per cent growth in cruise ship visits since 2010, or Turks and Caicos, which in one week signed two separate new resort construction agreements, one for US$200 million, and one for US $224 million, actively seeks to exclude, or is hostile toward, gay people?), or do we want to not only cease to prosecute gay behaviour, but in so doing encourage and support companies who may consider doing business here, but are restrained by our current discriminatory legislation which is actively hostile to their own company policies, let alone to potential customers?

Most major corporations today have non-discriminatory company policies. It would make no sense for a hotel chain or cruise ship companies which serves gay customers, as well as employs LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) people, to look to begin doing business here. But then we don’t really need them, do we? We are just fine with the stagnant number of cruise ship arrivals and hotel rooms, increasing youth emigration and deficit budgets. Let’s keep our head in the sand and applaud our neighbouring countries, as their business sectors (commercial, industrial and tourism based) continue to outpace ours…while we wonder why!

HJA

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