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BARBADOS: Gay 'Relief'

BARBADOS: Gay 'Relief'

by TONY BEST
NationNews.com
http://www.nationnews.com/story/289184702061123.php
4/7/2007

NO TO LEGALISING prostitution; yes to decriminalising homosexuality.

That seems to be the emerging position of the Anglican Church in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean.

Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies Province and a former bishop of Barbados, has rejected any idea of the church supporting an attempt to legalise prostitution in various islands, Barbados included, but said he could back the decriminalising of homosexuality among consenting adults, purely on human rights grounds.

He remained opposed to the practice of homosexuality but supported a change in the law that would end discrimination and violence directed at gay people because of their lifestyle.

"Several countries in the Caribbean have already decriminalised homosexual practice between consenting adults in private," he told the SATURDAY SUN in an interview from his home in The Bahamas.

"That is in response to the human rights issues that have arisen. I would find it difficult not to support that from a human rights perspective, while at the same time disagreeing with the homosexual lifestyle and its agenda. I don't feel they should be harassed and persecuted," he added.

The archbishop disagreed with officials and experts who linked decriminalising prostitution and homosexuality in order to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, saying that while sex workers had chosen a deliberate way to make a living, the same couldn't be said for gays.

"I wouldn't put them in the same category," he said. "Prostitution is definitely a chosen field of action that people enter into and I would see no need for the church to change its position in any way in respect of that. I would not support the decriminalisation of prostitution.

"However, I would support the decriminalisation of homosexuality among adults on the grounds of human rights," he added.

The archbishop's position was in step with the attitude of the church in England officially adopted several years ago.

END

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