Jamaica: Tiny victory in 7-year quest to make a kiss legal

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02/05/2022

An 1864 British colonially imposed law makes acts of intimacy between men illegal, and my partner and I could be imprisoned for up to ten years at hard labour. Even worse, since 2012, those convicted would also have to register as sex offenders and always carry a “Scarlet Letter” pass or face a further 12 months’ imprisonment plus a J$1million (US$6,800) fine. I have, therefore, watched with hope as similar laws criminalizing my love around the world have been struck down by courts. So, in 2015, I launched a case to have Jamaica’s archaic and dehumanizing anti-sodomy law repealed. Usually, courts expedite human rights cases, but for various reasons mine has dragged on. The government of Jamaica has rejected calls by local and international groups to end the persecution of LGBT people and is staunchly defending the law with the support of some of the island’s powerful religious groups. Many times, I have suffered depression because of the seemingly overwhelming odds.

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