The Jamaica Outpost
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Title: The Jamaica Outpost
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Language: English
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Publisher: GL Publishing
Place of Publication: Kingston, Jamaica
Creation Date: May 2005
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Full Text
News for the Jamaican lesbian, all-sexual and gay community
iluniEl Issue 12
Uihi HmttaUa (§vitl^osit
Establishad in June 2DD4 ISSN D7BB-I72X
Kingston, Jamaica
Inside This Issue
West Indian Gay & Lesbian
Literature Features: Yogiraj,
Profile of budding writer and

Being gay and of Indian ori-
gin in Guyana
[Page 4]

Heaitii & Wellness: Water
the foundation for health.

Bible Study: Ttie word

1st World Outgames Update:
Rendez-Vous with culture.
[Page 7]

Regional & Int'l News:
The world of gay marriage.
CCJ Inauguration

The Jamaica DutPnst
P.D. 554D, Kingston B, Jamaica
TeI: 87B-8B4-I85B
Email: EditorUjamaicaoutpDst.cDm
Publication Team:
Jason Simmonds
Publication Manager

Anthony Hron
Publication Assistant

Kaitb Hollar
Copy Editor

A monthly puhlication hy GL Puhlishing
Visit us onlino at:
By Jason Simmonds, The Jamaica QutPost Contrihutor
April 15 saw a new dawn-
ing in the gay rights de-
bate for Jamaican citi-
zens. In New York, at
least. Amnesty Interna-
tional local Group 1SS or-
ganized a demonstration
in New York in front of the
Jamaican Embassy to
send home a clear mes-
sage to the Jamaican gov-
ernment concerning the
island's horrendous level
of homophobia and vio-
lence toward gay people.
The demonstration is said
to have drawn more than
1,000 activists, high
school and college stu-
dents, community leaders,
and general members of
the public. A petition was
also circulated for people
to sign during the demon-
stration. In the meantime,
another group was dem-
onstrating; Jamaicans re-
Antl-gay protest by hamaphabic Jamaicans residing in NYC (Phntn SnurcE: AndrEs DuquE)
siding in New York, led by
Sons and Daughters of Ja-
maica, also took to the
streets to protest in front of
the Jamaican Embassy.
Their protest, however, was
for the "white" people to
stop pressuring Jamaicans
to endorse homosexuality
and is further encouraging
the Jamaican government
to say no to any form of in-
ternational pressure on this

While all this hot air was
blowing up north, business
(See Supreme Court on page 2)
By Jason Simmonds, The Jamaica QutPost Contrihutor
Jamaica has become syn-
onymous with the word ho-
mophobia. Just the thought
of the place conjures vivid
images of ghastly violence
and hatred toward gay peo-
ple. The actual extent of
this fear, however, has
been scientifically proven. It
may not be easy to even do
because gay Jamaicans are
not prepared to admit and
associate with being homo-
sexual, bisexual or trans-
gendered. While this fear
of homophobic lash-backs
does prevent members of
the gay community from
living an open and honest
life, it does not hinder the
many gay parties and go-
ing-ons that happen. One
man, however, has chosen
to make a difference in the
way he lives his life. He
chose to be honest and
open about his homosexu-
ality with his family and
friends. The moment I
started talking with Wayne
Anderson, I could denote
the joy he felt in finally be-
ing able to be open with his
loved ones about who he
is. The journey started last
year during the peak of the
holiday season when rela-
tives from all walks of life
gathered to celebrate the
(See Other Side on page 3)

The Jamaica DutPost
May 2DD5 Volumo I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page 2
(Supreme Court...Continued from page 1)
in Jamaica continued as usual. Not a soul seemed to
care about what was going on in New York. I checked
with some members of Jamaica's GLBT community,
and most of them did not even know about such a pro-
test. But why should they even bother to care? If your
guess is as good as mine, then you should know: these
foreign demonstrations will not change anything in Ja-
maica. Last June saw the start of Jamaica's biggest gay
debate ever. While the momentum is now hugely sub-
dued locally, international advocates continue to sup-
port the debate through periodic activities. Still, Jamai-
can leaders continue in their usual jolly ways, and gay
Jamaicans continue to forgo some basic rights and
freedoms available to our counterparts in other territo-
ries. Most if not all of the efforts being initiated by non-
Jamaican international organisations, including Human
Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and U.K.'s Out-
Ragel, continue to meet bitter (in the Jamaican sense)
opposition and nonchalance from policymakers and up-
holders of the Jamai-
can Constitution. Not
surprising, none of the
efforts since last June
has garnered any suc-
cess in Jamaica. This
is hugely as a result of
the approach. The Ja-
maican Constitution is
very clear about ad-
dressing the right of
citizens. In this case,
the rights of gays, les-
bians, bisexuals and
transgenders in the
island are not pro-
tected. How do Jamai-
cans who are being
affected by this injustice seek redress?
The first step is to contact your local member of Parlia-
ment (MP) who is also your representative in the House
of Parliament. Voice your dissatisfaction to the person
you voted for. And if you are not participating in local
elections, you are adding to the non-existent voice of
the gay community. Urge your MP to introduce or sup-
port the introduction of legislation to protect gay people
in Jamaica. This is your country, and no one could ever
tell you that you are a "white foreigner" trying to push
homosexuality down the throats of any Jamaican. Fail-
ing to hear from your MP in a favourable way, then the
other option is to file a lawsuit against the government
of Jamaica in the Supreme Court of Jamaica, citing fail-
ure on its part to protect you as a GLBT citizen of Ja-
maica. This is where an organisation like the Jamaica
Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG)
would play a critical role, since the group has already
created a niche of support organisations, willing to back
their advocacy both financially and emotionally. If the
Supreme Court of Jamaica is not able to provide ade-
quate redress, then the Court of Appeal of Jamaica is
available to challenge the judgment of the Supreme
Court. If the Court of Appeal is unable to tell the Jamai-
can government to repeal buggery laws and write into
the Jamaican Constitution that discrimination based on
sexual orientation is unlawful, then the appellant can
now take the matter to the British Judicial Committee
Privy Council. Remember: The Court of Appeal is the
highest court within Jamaica but is subjected to the ap-
pellant jurisdiction of the Privy Council. This approach
is something that should have long been explored by
the great minds at J-FLAG. And now that the Carib-
bean Court of Justice may sooner or later take the
place of the Privy Council, there is no telling what re-
gional mentality we will be subjected to for the next
century. The GLBT communities in several islands
throughout the Caribbean, especially the member
states of the Caribbean Community, continue to suffer
at the hands of this so-called cultural homophobia,
which is simply another
form of oppression. It is,
therefore, my message to
the people who are genu-
inely seeking to help gays
living in Jamaica to reflect
on the legal procedures
outlined by the Jamaican
Constitution before decid-
ing to challenge local
laws. Additionally, I call on
the responsible ones at J-
FLAG to reposition their
approach from an over-
seas base to a local one.
Jamaicans are very proud,
and when it comes to a
matter concerning homo-
sexuality and gay rights, no Jamaican government is
going to surrender to any form of foreign influence.
We must also remember that in recent months, more
than a dozen U.S. states have stated non-categorically
that they will not give gay people the right to be equal
through a denial of the right to get married. The U.S. is
Jamaica's biggest market, whether it is tourism, dance-
hall music sales or otherwise. This should clearly indi-
cate that Sandals, Elephant Man and all the others
would not fail to eat their bread. The Jamaican govern-
ment will not see gay rights as a priority unless Jamai-
cans get on the boat and paddle for their own rights,
using their own laws that are available to challenge
any form of prejudice and injustice.

Popular Jamaican proverb: Learn fi nyam ayaadbe-
fore yuh go abraad. ("Learn to eat at home before try-
ing to eat abroad.")
Protest led by Amnesty Intl's Group 13 in NYC (Phntn SnurnniAndrEs DuquE)

The Jamaica DutPost
May2DD5 Volume I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page 3
WEST INQIAN GAY S LESBIAN LITERATQRE By Jason Simmonds, The Jamaica QutPost Contrihutor
This month we
feature a bud-
ding writer and
poet by the
name of Yogiraj.
Yogiraj hails
from Bajan/
Puerto Rican
heritage and
has chosen to use the power of word and in-
formation to uplift and empower our commu-
nity through reflection and spirituality. Yogiraj,
who is also a yogi and aspiring metaphysician,
believes that life is about helping others to
overcome the many challenges of life and is
using his daily experiences, his spiritual
awareness and his writing abilities to accom-
plish this objective.

The following writing sample is from his poem
captioned above. The entire poem is available
online atwww.yogachakra.org.

Love is such an easy thing to give, and it just
blows my mind that, there exist so many gay
men, that would refuse to give someone a
chance in a relationship, because of superficial
attitudes, outlandish expectations, projected
thoughts, and over active (untamed) sexual
energies, with no intention to curb.
I desire to connect with a man,
with the capacity to look in to
my eyes, and see more than
just a label, a date, a life-
style upgrade, a f*ck buddy, a
side thang, a conquest, a
bank, a cutie pie, a cousin,
your ex, your "just in case...
man", your "practice run", your
temporary fling (without telling
me), dating me solely for what
I'm not, dating me solely for
who I may become, or solely
for the use of my kindness.[..]

[...] I cry at night because my
heart is broken, for a kind of
love that seems no man
is interested enough in com-
mitting themselves to. It seems
that the more I pray for a loving
man, the more sexual proposi-
tions I get. My spirit is now ex-
hausted and energetically de-
pleted from prayer, and my
faith is just about decimated.
Although this proves to be
the hardest challenge in my
life, I do understand that this
challenge is not of God*, but
of man's repeated weakness,
and the result of our society
being emotionally bankrupt....

My experiences have left me
seriously wondering whether
my life style really is a sin?
Not because of the actual act
of being homosexual, but be-
cause of how we grossly
treat and interact with each
other as a whole. Yet, I know
deep in my heart, I cannot be
anything other than what I
am... a gay man.

Courtesy of: Yogiraj
Copyright 2005
Photo source: Yogiraj
\/\fest IncSan Gay axi Lesbian Litaature is a rew cdurm decScated to writers of
poems, short staies, no\^s, plays and other fams of literary als. Lei us know
of any literary work that you would recommend to our readers.
Rease email us: editor^amaicaoutpostcom
(Other Side Cont'd from page 1)
joyous season. Many asked him why he wasn't married
or had a girlfriend or a "little Wayne" running around the
place. He felt he needed to make something straight (no
pun intended!) with his entire family. So, with a deep
breath and huge shot of self-confidence, he informed his
family that he was a gay man.
From the moment he told his family until now, he is
yet to experience any bad vibes from anyone. In fact, he
disclosed that his family has been very supportive of his
decision and continues to show him its usual family love.
He jokingly spoke of a story his mother told him in sup-
port of the notion that being gay is not something one
learns. You see, she grew up in a small rural town where
two guys whom she saw grow up there turned out to be
gay. She said the guys could not have "caught" or
"learned" it anywhere because they never left the little
town. Additionally, his mother spoke of having worked
with a man who was also gay. These moments of sharing
between him and his mother made the decision even
more fulfilling for Anderson.
He even took it a step further by telling his friends
that he is gay. The reactions he got were no different
from those he received from his family. None of his
friends has chosen to step away from their friendship,
neither male nor female. In fact, his decision to come
out sparked a lengthy session of reasoning between
himself and good male friend about the whole issue of
homosexuality. His friend was never judgmental; he
just wanted to get to understand life from the other
side of the coin.
All in all, Anderson's coming-out experience has
made his life much more meaningful to him. "I should
be free to express myself," he told The Jamaica Out-
Post. "It makes life more comfortable." He also feels
that Jamaica needs more positive exposure to the cul-
(See Other Side on page 4)

The Jamaica DutPost
May2DD5 Volume I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page 4
BEING GAY AND OF INDIAN ORIGIN A perspective from a Guyanese
Commentary By Guyanese Contrihutor
The Caribbean is an idea not only of geography but also
of culture and traditions. In Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago,
and Suriname there is a significant percentage of the
population descended from the Indian indentured immi-
grants who started arriving in the ISSOs. The descen-
dants of these immigrants have made valuable contribu-
tions to their countries and to the Caribbean at large -
and, in Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, are sadly locked
in political battle with the large populations of African ori-
Growing up as person of Indian origins in Burnham's
Guyana was not easy, with the memories of the race riots
of 1960s haunting my parents' generation. The Indian
community was not homogenous. It had its own subdivi-
sions of class, politics and religion Hindu, Muslim,
Christian and Bahai to an extent, but there was a band-
ing together to survive the tyranny of the Burnham re-
gime. Many of the Marxist Indians also sought to give up
notions of Indian identities, adopting the philosophies of
the Soviet and Cuban revolution.
My impressions growing up with the gay feelings
were that there was a pitying kind of tolerance for the
"anti-men" among Indian people. The anti-men in the vil-
lages tended to live together at a house and often came
out for weddings and birth celebrations or were integrated
into society in their own way. Drunken Indian men often
danced with each other very merrily, at wedding houses
or rum shops and in other places. The anti men mingled
with the straight men in rum shops. However, an anti-
man had a certain identity on a lower social order, ef-
feminate, and wearing "women's clothes" and not aspiring
to any profession except prostitution.
Things got a little more alien when, as North America
opened up, many of the gay Indian men I knew started to
adopt the traits of the white New York/Toronto types, with
some quaint mixture of South Asian "desi" type which
they inherited from India. Many of the guys married;
those who did not chose the life of wearing dresses and
becoming prostitutes, and I was constantly told by some
of these men that I should marry and settle down! I was
comfortable in my religion, Hinduism, since there was
never any preaching or anti-gay message, and I was con-
scious that in some of the Hindu communities, there was
always some valued person who to me was effeminate.
My own confusion was that I had no desire to wear a
An important part of living in Guyana is the interaction
with men (and women) of other ethnic origins. Whilst I
watched in horror at the racial attacks by criminals of Afri-
can origin on people of Indian origin and the growing re-
sentment within the Indian community of all things Afri-
can; I felt comfortable in myself to look beyond race. It
was important to confront my own prejudices. There were
Indian men who were scorned when I admitted that I had
loved black men; and there were black men who felt
that I had it easier being Indian since "Indians were not
as homophobic." In my own views of the Caribbean
identity, I believe that there should be acknowledge-
ment of the great diversity, which could be a rich re-
source, rather than trying to make "one," even though
my spirituality acknowledges this oneness. I am grate-
ful to the friends of African origins who have worked
with me on dealing with my own internal homophobia.
The friends I tried to make across the divide realised
that while it should not matter, our sexuality in some
cases separated us from our culture, even though as
Hindu Indian I have reclaimed that for myself. I was
sickened when I realised that the gay community was
split along the same racial political lines as the rest of
the society, and it was amusing to learn that the politi-
cians of both parties had a nudge-nudge, wink-wink,
"don't ask, don't tell" attitude, as long as they got their
My own hopeless desire is to continue to encour-
age people who are not heterosexual to see the ways
in which they could address the racial problems in
Guyana and to contribute actively to the development
of the region. I fear the alienation from my "Indian"
community should I be out, but that is confused with a
notion that history has placed me here so neither them
nor me could do anything about it.
(Other Side cont'd from page 3)
ture of GLBT community in order to educate the wider
community and help to erase the taboos about gay peo-
ple. "I think we should all be ourselves," he continued,
affirming the genuine need among members of the
GBLT community to pursue a life that incorporates their
entire existence.
As for reactions from his gay friends, he told the
newsletter that many did not take very well to the idea of
his coming out and have even been trying to persuade
him not to continue telling people that he is a homosex-
A source of strength for Anderson has been the
many books he reads in his free time. Most of these are
fictions based on the experiences of other gay men in
other cultures and situations. He feels happy, relaxed
and confident about life, after a long cycle of inner strug-
gle to accept his homosexuality and being true to the
people around him. "I don't have a death wish, but I
can't spend the rest of my life posing beside a woman."

The Jamaica DutPost
May2DD5 Volume I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page 5
Healths WeIIhess
While many components of a healthy diet can be de-
bated, there is one substance that everyone agrees
is crucial water. Every function of the body re-
quires sufficient water.
Whether it is brain func-
tion, hormone function,
elimination of waste
products or even weight
loss, water is essential.
It doesn't take long for
the debate to begin
again, though, when the
issues of quantity and
quality are raised. Most
of us have heard that
we should get S glasses
of water a day, but that
is just a crude approxi-
mation. Everyone is dif-
ferent in his or her need
for water. Some people
naturally sweat more
than others, some work
in hot conditions where
water loss is extreme,
some people eat salty
foods or drink caffein-
ated beverages which
increase the need for
water, and overweight individuals need more water
than thin people. If you are a normal weight for your
height, then start with the S-glass rule. If you are
overweight, add one glass for every 25 pounds over-
weight you are. If you are in hot, dry conditions, add
Water-undoubtedly an essential part of any diet
reaching out for equality
Join the first network of organizations
working for a better society for Gay,
Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual
citizens of the Caribbean.
sufficient water to maintain perspiration. If you wait
until the thirst sensation is felt, you are probably al-
ready dehydrated, so drinking water regularly
throughout the day is important.
A final guide for assessing
proper fluid amounts is to moni-
tor your urine colour. If it consis-
tently comes out a dark yellow,
you need more water in your
diet. Once the quantity issue is
addressed, concerns over water
quality often arise. The munici-
pal water purification standards
are meant to ensure clean wa-
ter, yet incidents of contamina-
tion are common. Chemicals
can contaminate water from
shallow wells. Even rainwater
can be contaminated if not prop-
erly collected and stored. Bot-
tled water is generally safer (if
you buy from a reputable bot-
tler), but the cost is too high for
most people. As a result, more
and more health-conscious indi-
viduals are installing home wa-
ter purifiers. Faucet-mounted
filtration systems are easy to
install, relatively inexpensive,
and can do an admirable job of removing patho-
gens, chemicals and dangerous metals as well as
bad tastes and sediment. If you keep these tips on
water quantity and quality in mind, you'll be taking
the most important first step toward a healthy diet.

This column offers information for personal health and is
not intended to replace the services of a licensed physi-
cian. If you are sick, please see a healthcare provider.

Article by:
Anthony Hron, The Jamaica OutPost Contributor
MAY 17th

The Jamaica DutPost
May2BB5 Volume I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page E
BIBLE STQQY By Shane Hicks-Lee, Guest Columnist

The word "sodomite" appears in some English-translation
Bibles. It is a mistranslation.

Several translations say use "sodomite" in Deut 2S:17.
"There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a
sodomite of the sons of Israel." The Hebrew word for
whore is kedesha and kadesh for "sodomite." These
words mean female cult prostitute and male cult prosti-
tute and are references to the temple prostitutes in pagan
shrines. In verse IS, "Thou shalt not bring the hire of a
whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD
thy God for any vow." "Hire of a whore" is money earned
by a female temple prostitute and "price of a dog" is by a
male. "Sodomite" appears in several other verses. How-
ever, in each place it refers specifically to cult temple or
shrine prostitutes and is translated that way in other
translations. The language doesn't seem to indicate ho-
mosexual or heterosexual. According to the NIV study
Bible, "Ritual prostitution was an important feature in
Cananite fertility religion. The Israelites had been warned
by Moses not to engage in the abominable practice."
Also, Strong's Concordance defines "sodomite" (06945)
as "male temple prostitute."

In several translations, "sodomite" also appears in 1 Tim
1:10. I've studied Greek. The word translated as
"Sodomite" is "arsenokoitaiv". Compare that to Matt 10:15
"Sodom," which in Greek is "sodomwn". Neither the
same words nor the same roots. The word in 1 Tim1:10
When: April 3, 2005.
From: Genevieve [Jamaicaoutpost.com]

It is sad and disgraceful to see that not much has
changed in Jamaica with regards to the high incidents
of homophobia that still appears to be happening.
When: April 4, 2005.
From Susan Dennison [Jamaicaoutpost.com]

This is absolutely outrageous that these men were
threatened with their lives yet no one was arrested. Ho-
mophobic attacks, abuse should be made illegal in Ja-
maica. I'm disgusted and abuse like this makes me feel
Log onto our web page and select 'Feedback'.

V\fe reserve all rights to edt cr not publish any feecbackv\e receive. Available space tcr feecbacte is limited.
is also used in 1 Cor 6:9 and is translated in various
ways. Paul seems to be the first person to use the
word in writing. But, for this discussion, that is beside
the point.

As you can see, the word "sodomite" does not exist in
the original languages of either Testament. If you are
correcting someone who does not understand, remem-
ber to do so gently and with love. These mistransla-
tions have been out there for hundreds of years. Ex-
plain your research, and encourage them to research it
for themselves.
Last Month's DutPoll Results
Do you think conditions for gays have improved,
stayed the same, or deteriorated during the past
Improved 1S% No Change 27%
Deteriorated 27% Not Sure 27%
This month's question:
Do you think that filing a civil suit in Jamaica's Su-
preme Court could pave the way for gay rights in Ja-

The Jamaica DutPost
May2DD5 VolumE I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page 7
Courtesy of The 1ST World Qutgames Rendez-Vous Montreal ZDDE (EditEd by Jason Simmonds)
Catch the Montreal Feeling by planning to attend one of
four official cultural activities. Enjoy professionally organ-
ised events where you see the talents and creativity of
the GLBTI community from various countries shine be-
fore thousands of 1st World Outgames participants and
visitors. All activities are officially sanctioned by the top
organisations in each cultural discipline. You can also
catch the feeling at the Opening and Closing Ceremo-
nies, which are sure to hold many
wonderful and unforgettable sur-
prises. The four categories of cultural
activities include:
Bands/Colour Guard/Cheerleading
This cultural programme will offer
spectacular performances by March-
ing Bands, Concert Bands, Big
Bands, Colour Guards and Cheer-
leading groups from countries around
the world. These events will run from
August 2 to 4, 2006 at the athletics
track of the Montreal's Olympic Park.
Choral Festival
The Choral Festival will present many excellent choruses
from around the world. These choruses will each perform
their own repertoires before participants in and visitors to
the 1st World Outgames Montreal 2006, in an interna-
tional festival atmosphere. The Choral Festival will be or-
ganized in collaboration with Gala Choruses. Concerts
will be presented during the week of 29 July to 5 August
2006. The Mass Choruses performance will take place on
4 August 2006.
The views and opinions expressed in tliis newsletter are not a reflection
of tliose of tlie publislier. Tlie publislier cannot be lield liable for any
offence as a result of any sucli views.
(Photo courtesy of Qutgames)
Country Western Dance
The Country Western Dance is a cultural event that will
entertain and delight participants in and visitors to the
1st World Outgames Montreal 2006 with their skills
and showmanship during the numerous activities that
will be held over the 7days of the Outgames. This part
of the cultural expose will feature Recreational Dance,
during which participants may take part in the many
Recreational Dance sessions that
will be organized primarily at the
Hilton Bonaventure Hotel, at Club
Bolo and at various 1st World Out-
games activity sites throughout the
7 days of the Outgames. Competi-
tion Events will be held over 3 days
and will welcome participants of all
ages and levels of ability. These
events are open to participants with
disabilities. On the evening of Fri-
day, 4 August, participants regis-
tered for Exhibition Dance will take
to the spotlight to perform.

Square Dance
As part of the 1st World Outgames Montreal 2006 cul-
tural programme. Square Dance demonstrations will
provide an excellent opportunity for participants in and
visitors to the Outgames to discover this colourful and
entertaining form of dance. Square Dance perform-
ances will be held on 3 days and will bring together
participants of all ages and levels of ability. Competi-
tions are open to participants with disabilities.
Call us at 8G4-I85G
Email us: GditDr@jamaicaDutpDst.CDm
News for tho Jamaican lesbian, all-SEXual and gay community

The Jamaica DutPost
May2DD5 VolumE I Issue 12 Kingston, Jamaica
Page 8
OlDbal Headlines
The U.S. state of Con-
necticut becomes the sec-
ond state to legalize
same-gender civil unions
after Vermont. Same-
gender marriage is only
legal in the state of Mas-

Inquest into the death of
a 26-year old Iranian man
last June confirms that he
committed suicide follow-
ing a ruling by the British
government to deny his
second appeal for asylum
in the U.K. Homosexuality
is illegal in Iran and pun-
ishable by execution.

The Supreme Court in
the U.S. state of Oregon
nullifies approximately
3,000 same-gender mar-
riages that took place in
that state last year.

Pop music icon Elton
John announces plans to
marry long-time Canadian
partner David Furnish in
IntBrnatiDnal Nbws
Recent weeks have seen some major
developments related to gay marriage
which reveal differing attitudes between
and within countries. In Europe, for ex-
ample, the British government an-
nounced plans for a civil-union registry
for same-gender couples, giving them
many of the rights of married couples.
Spain is also moving
ahead with the ruling
Socialist Party's effort
to legalize marriage for
same-gender couples.
The proposed law was
passed by the lower
house and enjoys broad
support in the Senate.
Complete passage is
expected soon, and
gays could be getting
married before the end
of the year. On the
other hand, the Irish government is plan-
ning to fight a lawsuit filed by a lesbian
couple who want to have their Canadian
marriage recognized in Ireland for tax
purposes. French courts are one step
ahead on this unfortunate track by re-
cently invalidating a gay couple's mar-
riage and suspending the French mayor
who wed them.
Symbol for the battla for marriago Equality
Across the pond, Canada and the U.S.
show the same contrasting sentiments.
Canada's conservative party has repeat-
edly failed to slow the steady advance of
marriage equality in the provincial govern-
ments, and progress is being made on a
national gay marriage law. In the States,
Connecticut passed a civil-unions law
which gives gay couples
many of the same legal
protections as married cou-
ples, and over in San Fran-
cisco, the state's Superior
Court ruled that gay and
lesbian couples in Califor-
nia can marry and that the
state's law against it was
unconstitutional. Counter-
ing these positive develop-
ments, Oregon's Supreme
Court ruled that thousands
of gay marriage certificates
signed last year are not valid, and Kansas'
voters approved a constitutional amend-
ment banning marriage and civil unions for
same-sex couples. With all these develop-
ments, it is hard to know which direction the
tide of sentiment is going, but one thing we
can be assured of: It is an issue that will be
with us for a very long time.
REginnal News
The controversial Caribbean Court of
Justice (CCJ) was finally inaugurated
on Saturday April 16, 2005 in Port of
Spain, capital city of the twin island
republic of Trinidad & Tobago. The
court becomes the first ever regional
judicial tribunal to be established
wholly within the Caribbean and
brings to fruition a long period of ges-
tation from as early as 1970, following
a proposal from the Jamaican delega-
tion during the Sixth Heads of Gov-
ernment Conference to replace the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Coun-
cil with a Caribbean-based appellate
The CCJ was designed to act as
an original jurisdiction for the interpre-
tation and application of the Treaty
that established the Caricom and the
Caricom Single Market Economy
(CSME), which will hopefully be fully
operational by later this year. The court
will also hear criminal and civil appeals,
which are currently heard by the Privy
Council. At the launch date, the CCJ
became the official final court of appeal
for Guyana, and Barbados. Dutch-
speaking Caricom member, Suriname,
and Haiti (whose membership is cur-
rently under suspension because of the
Aristide hiatus) were never subjected to
the Privy Council.
Weeks before the CCJ inaugura-
tion, the Jamaican government was is-
sued a ruling by the Privy Council that
barred it from replacing Jamaica's final
court of appeals without a national ref-
erendum. For many local human rights
organisations, this was a moment of
triumphant, especially Jamaicans For
Justice, who along with the opposing
Jamaica Labour Party had filed the ap-
peal with the Privy Council. Now that
the court is in fact a reality, it will only
be a matter of time before the Privy
Council will be replaced as Jamaica's
final appellate court. In the eyes of
many, it will not be a court to serve
justice but one to prolong the lack of
justice in Jamaica.

For more information on the Caribbean
Court of Justice, please visit their web