Call to Action: End Legislative Inertia and Judicial Activism
Editor: The Caribbean CAUSE notes that constitutional challenges to buggery laws have now been filed in Dominica and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Armed with first-instance decisions in Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activists are now churning their way through the Caribbean, seeking to implement their agenda with passionate intensity.
A consequence of repealing the buggery laws in these countries will be that the homosexual union will be regarded as being equivalent to the heterosexual union. Since law affects culture this change could ultimately result in our people being deceived into thinking that these unnatural, harmful behaviours are acceptable.
The youngest and most vulnerable group in any society, our children, will be taught that these relationships and behaviours are acceptable. Expect too that there will be a push for so called same-sex ‘marriage’ as has happened in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. When the buggery laws go, the protection of a people from these malevolent forces is taken away.
In this regard, we call on the elected Governments of independent Caribbean territories to take considered and well-thought out steps to amend their Constitutions to protect the welfare of their citizens and thus preserve the true human rights of all Caribbean people. Such steps should include making specific reference to the male-female relationship as being the only type of normal sexual relationship; defining marriage as the union of one biological man and one biological woman, and the saving of buggery/sodomy laws.
We are also concerned about the unhidden overreach of judicial activity in this subject-area, helped in some instances by pro-LGBT training being given to the judges. Indeed, certain Caribbean judges have failed to rule on LGBT matters in an impartial manner.
The obvious and strenuous effort of these Judges to redefine words and thereby take sides amounts to a loss of judicial independence and compromises their credibility.
For example, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin of Belize, in the case of Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney-General of Belize et al, purported to unilaterally change the meaning of words in the Belizean Constitution, the highest law of the land that came into being through a democratic Parliamentary process. Chief Justice Benjamin of his own will expanded the word ‘sex’, the objective, specific biological design of being male or female, to include the limitless, subjective-feeling concept of ‘sexual orientation’. This word distortion was an outcome not even specifically requested by the Claimant, Caleb Orozco.
In the case from Trinidad and Tobago, Jason Jones v. The Attorney-General et al, Justice Rampersad declared Trinidad a secular state in spite of clear words in the Preamble of their Constitution “…that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God”. Justice Rampersad then proceeded to import a definition of dignity and privacy which was contrary to these principles leading to the conclusion that the Claimant’s “rights” had been breached. Justice Rampersad’s unilateral imposition of definitions that contravened the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, created fake “rights” and validated behaviours that demean human dignity.
Another Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie, in the case of Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush v The Attorney-General of the Cayman Islands et al unilaterally imposed so-called same-sex “marriage” on the Cayman Islands, in spite of the fact that its elected Legislature clearly defined within their Constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman only.
Caribbean CAUSE urges the Judges of the Caribbean, to respect the principle of separation of powers, remembering that they are appointed to interpret not to make law. They are to reject and avoid activism. In the words of V.K. Rajah, former Attorney-General of Singapore, in his article Interpreting the Constitution, “To venture beyond the text of the constitution and to enunciate a meaning that reflects what the law should be is to disrespect the principle of separation of powers: this is an exercise that violates rather than upholds the constitution.”
We are also urging the legislatures of the Caribbean to take appropriate steps to protect their Constitutions from judicial activism in order to ensure that their democracies are preserved and that there is no further loss of credibility of the judiciary.