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Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Buggery law deemed unconstitutional

LGBTQI protesters stand near the Hall of Justice waiting for the judgement on the constitutionality of TT's buggery law. Photo: Kalifa Clyne

The High Court today ruled that certain sections of the Sexual Offences Act are unconstitutional and null and void.

High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ruled that the law goes against the basic rights of any citizen to enjoy the freedom of privacy and family life.

The law has not been struck down but the matter will be further ventilated in July after attorneys for the State and for gay rights activist Jason Jones makes submissions to the court.

The judgement was delivered this morning to a packed courtroom at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

The judge said it was unfortunate when society, in any way, values a person or gives a person their identity based on their race, colour, gender, age or sexual orientation.

He said to now deny a perceived minority their right to humanity and human dignity would be to continue the type of thinking experienced in apartheid South Africa and the holocaust in Germany.

Gay rights activist Jason Jones challenged the constitutionality of the criminalisation of same-sex provisions contained in local laws in 2017.

Prior to the ruling, TT nationals representing the LGBTQI community stood in face- off with members from the Christian and Muslim communities on the steps of the Hall of Justice this morning.

Yasin Abu Bakr, leader of Jamaat al Muslimeen, joined the Muslim group. He said, "Regardless of happens, our position remains the same. No one can legislate against the law of God. There are so many examples for those who are Christians and those of us who are Muslims of God's displeasure for this kind of behaviour. If it did not exist in scripture it would have been a matter of opinion, but this is not a matter of opinion. This is a matter where the scripture says that this is an abomination. Are we going to call upon ourselves the displeasure of God?"

Newsday spoke with an ally of the LGBTQI community who said, "I am also 70 years old and what that means is that I have seen a lot of historical changes come about. What I am seeing here is historical for TT and the English speaking Caribbean."

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