Victory for gay rights

By Jada Loutoo
April 13, 2018 – newsday.co.tt

Victory for gay rightsA victory was scored yesterday for the LGBTQI community, which is now celebrating a landmark Supreme Court ruling which has overturned this country’s sodomy law, deeming it unconstitutional.

Justice Devindra Rampersad had been asked by Jason Jones – a Trinidad-born openly gay man – to determine whether the State had the constitutional authority to criminalise sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.

He ruled that Jones’ dignity and basic human rights were taken away by a state-sanctioned threat of prosecution and persecution because he was homosexual.

In his 58-page written decision, Rampersad said Jones has been treated differently to heterosexuals because of his sexual orientation and the manner in which he expresses his love and affection.

The judge also disagreed with the State’s argument that Jones’ case was not about homosexuality, adding that the retention of the law had “everything to do with homosexuality and the colonial abhorrence to the practice.”

He added that the law “obviously remains” as a statement by the State against homosexuality “since there seems to be no other purpose.”

He said because of the manner in which Jones chose to express his love and affection, he had been treated differently from heterosexuals because of his sexual orientation.

“It is a threat that is sanctioned by the State and that sanction is an important sanction because it justifies in the mind of others in society who are differently minded that the very lifestyle, life and existence of a person who chooses to live, in the way that the claimant does, is criminal and is deemed of a lesser value than anyone else.

“Those criminal sanctions have the potential to be used oppressively by differently minded citizens as a foundation for hate as condoned by the State.”

In 2017, Jones challenged sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act which criminalised “sexual intercourse per anum” (anal sex) between consulting male adults. He complained that his basic common-law rights to privacy and family life were being infringed, as the law treated him differently because of sexual orientation, and imposed criminal sanctions on him.

Rampersad said the offending sections were not “reasonably justifiable in a society that has a proper respect for the rights and freedoms of the individual.

“This is not a case about religious and moral beliefs but is one about the inalienable rights of a citizen under the Republican Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago; any citizen, all citizens.

“This is a case about the dignity of the person and not about the will of the majority or any religious debate.

“To this court, human dignity is a basic and inalienable right recognised worldwide in all democratic societies.”

He said by the three-fifths enacted law, Parliament took “the deliberate decision” to criminalise homosexuality and threatened homosexuals with prosecution and persecution, leaving them unable to lawfully live their life, choose their life partners or create the families that they wished for.

“To do so would be to incur the possibility of being branded a criminal.

“That is the threat that exists at present.”

Rampersad also said keeping the unenforced laws on the statutes made no logical sense and, instead, “seems more vindictive than protective or curative in any manner.

‘As if to hold a “big stick” over a minority to try to enforce a portion of society’s morality over it.”

Rampersad said there was no reason why non-consensual sexual intercourse per anum cannot be caught under rape.

“The definition of rape is therefore broad enough to cover nonconsensual sexual intercourse per anum. The conscious effort and deliberate action to extract this non-consensual activity from that offence of rape is an obvious preservation of the societal abhorrences towards homosexuality.”

Although he has deemed sections 13 and 16 unconstitutional and of no effect to the extent that they criminalise any act constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults, he did not immediately strike the offending sections off the law books.

The judge has invited written submissions on the issue of striking down the sections which will be ventilated in court on July 4.

The State, represented by Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein, said it was leaving the issue up to the court to pronounce on, but needed time to consider and research the ripple effects the ruling may have on other legislation and legal principles, particularly as it relates to Parliament being the supreme lawmaker and the savings-clause feature of the Constitution, which precludes a court from striking down and reviewing legislation which was in existence when the Constitution was drafted and which has been marginally changed since.
Full Article : newsday.co.tt

9 Responses to “Victory for gay rights”


  • We need to take a critical look at certain members of the Trinidad Judiciary and their political judgements. Are some of these judges influenced by the US state department? the reason i ask this question, is that so-called GAY rights are part of the US state departments international foreign policy.The Trinidad born Homosexual, could have not challenged the Laws of Trinidad without the financial backings of certain USA same sex groups, this was the opportune time for judgement, Trinidad is at the mercy of US’ foreign relations apparatus.Morally and Ethically, Trinidad is driving on dangerous roads, when issues like these takes preeminence. The immorality of this subject, is like throwing Dust in the face of the public, forcing the acceptance of what should be hidden in the closet of two consensual miscreants. The Trinidad i know, will never adhere to this unethical behavior, participating partners can do whatever they want in the privacy of their home and bedrooms, in public ? it will definitely be a different ball game.

    • 500 plus murders a year and you state Trinidad is driving a morally and ethically dangerous road. I would suggest that You are in a an out of control car going down the north coast road with no driver….. And you are concerned with what colour the car is. So what if an American NGO funded the challenge in court. It’s called progress and equality. Do you expect TnT to stay a third world backwater forever.

  • Discuss….> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iplGW7MNNmI

    I mean, allyuh can talk tuh we yuh-know…

  • The sodomites are on the move. Not even God will stop them at this point in time. A lot of these judges are gay, so what can we expect.

  • I am eagerly looking forward to hear what Lt. Shah and de learned Ductah Cudjoe has to say on this issue. Let me hear it from you guys. (Human beings smarter than God or so they think.)

  • The State has no place in the bedrooms of our nation.

  • “NOR”, i spelt your name backwards, because of what you tend to be. My comments are like PEARLS thrown before SWINES, even when trampled on, it will remain what it is PEARLS. Sadly, i don’t see the point you are trying to make,your coming out,will not make it easy for you in any society, but that diminished and degenerating group of your liking. You lack the qualities, that would qualify you as a woman, and you also lack the qualities that would qualify you as a man, what do you have? “NOR”. Laws are initiated, in your case, it will never be respected, morally? your way of living, does very little to uplift a country. On your own,without the help of the white NGO you would still have been within your degenerative body,is this the progress and equality you desire, to show yourself? your way of life and thinking, will perpetually keep you in the “BACKWATER”.

  • with all due respact all i have to say is: you without sin caste the first stone

  • Anal sex is widely practised among heterosexuals, so this law does not pertain to homosexuals alone. It is a bad colonial law that infringes on the rights of diverse people. Those who are not into anal sex are in no way affected by repealing this law. Oral sex also involves an alternative use of body parts. Should this be outlawed?

Leave a Reply