New Jamaican PM to review anti-gay lawAround the World Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The newly sworn-in prime minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson-Miller has pledged to review the criminalization of homosexuality in the country and not forbid gays from serving in her cabinet as former prime minister, Bruce Golding had.
Pink News.co.uk reported that Simpson-Miller returned to power after a convincing win at the end of year elections in which her People’s National Party defeated Golding’s replacement, Andrew Holness, who held the position for two months.
In a televised debate in December, Simpson-Miller said gays would not be forbidden to serve in her cabinet, and that the government should “have a look” at the criminalization of gay acts, and vote freely on the matter.
As a result of her relatively pro-gay comments, one member of the then-ruling party questioned whether Simpson-Miller had been paid by the international LGBT community to speak up for gay rights.
Paul Canning of LGBT Asylum News told PinkNews.co.uk it was “a common tactic of anti-gay politicians the world over, most often seen in Africa”.
“He asked if Simpson-Miller had made her comments in exchange for funding – the exact same ‘wedge’ tactic used against then opposition leader in Zambia, Michael Sata.”
In Jamaica, sexual acts between men are punishable with up to ten years jail and the country has been described by human-rights groups as the most homophobic place on earth due to the hate speech and bias motivated crimes often directed at LGBT people.
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