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Jamaica church leaders rally, protest efforts to repeal anti-sodomy law

Sunday, June 23, 2013

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Several church pastors in Jamaica led a revival meeting Sunday to oppose efforts to overturn the Caribbean country’s anti-sodomy law and turn back what they see as increasing acceptance of homosexuality.

Roughly 1,500 people in their Sunday best gathered in a central Kingston park for a spirited religious service two days before a rare court challenge to Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law.

David McFadden, AP
Jamaican churchgoers hold signs while attending an anti-gay rally in Kingston, Jamaica, Sunday, June 23, 2013. Several church pastors in Jamaica led a revival meeting Sunday to oppose efforts to overturn the Caribbean country’s anti-sodomy law and turn back what they see as increasing acceptance of homosexuality.

The colonial-era “buggery law” prohibits anal sex and “gross indecency” between men, outlawing sexual relationships between consenting men. The punishment is 10 years in prison in Jamaica, one of several Caribbean islands with anti-sodomy laws enforced with strong backing from religious groups. Barbados, Guyana and Grenada are among the regional countries that uphold laws prohibiting homosexuality.

Some in the Kingston crowd carried placards saying marriage should only be between a man and a woman and others pumped signs into the air saying “Keep the buggery law!” A similar prayer meeting was held in the northern city of Montego Bay.

A religious group called Prayer 2000, led by the Rev. Naila Ricketts, spearheaded the meetings. Pastors spoke about the power of prayer and the need to transform Jamaica as petitions were circulated urging the government not to abolish the anti-sodomy law. A gospel music band performed while the participants enthusiastically clapped, swayed and sang under the hot afternoon sun.

“We need our politicians to know that we need them to walk the path of righteousness,” said Eleanor Johnson, who said she traveled from Jamaica’s southern Clarendon parish to participate.

Church of Christ pastor Leslie Buckland urged the crowd to pray for the conversion of homosexuals and lesbians. He said gay rights activists are trying to “take over the world” by challenging anti-gay laws in the courts.

He said that once Jamaica’s sodomy law was repealed, gay activists would “go back to the court to make it a criminal offense to speak against the homosexual lifestyle.”

Many people in this highly Christian nation perceive homosexuality as a sin.

Some say Jamaica tolerates homosexuality as long as it is not in the open. But gay activists say Jamaica is by far the most hostile island toward homosexuals in the conservative Caribbean. They say homosexuals in poor communities suffer frequent abuse and have little recourse because of anti-gay stigma and the anti-sodomy law.

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17 more reader comments:

  1. I bet if the world understood that fellatio is included in the definition of sodomy (as well as heterosexual anal intercourse), so many people of these anti-”sodomy” politicians would be dropping the cause. Too many people seem to operate on the sole purpose of getting head )and getting women to agree to anal).

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:29pm
  2. Not a country I’d want to go wandering around in. Especially the Kingston Metro. Trenchtown? It’s called that for a reason. Not a happy place.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:32pm
  3. Well they just celebrate gay pride in Jamaica

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:35pm
  4. Jamaica needs to be called out on their hum an rights

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:36pm
  5. Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:37pm
  6. Jamaica is a very religious country & also not necessarily open to accepting equality. I love Jamaica but they’re not ready to accept equality yet. Sad but true unfortunately.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:37pm
  7. Screw jamaica. Even without anti-sodomy laws, an LBGT going there is likely to get killed and no one will care less.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:41pm
  8. MOre moronic religitards.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 6:55pm
  9. Why visit such a bigoted backward country? There are much nicer islands and beaches to go to! Spend your money somewhere else!

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 7:04pm
  10. what?! jamaica is planning to repeal their anti-sodomy law? that’s a first… i think grenada might repeal it but not jamaica…

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 7:17pm
  11. I will stop drinking Appleton estate rum immediately! Needed an excuse to stop anyway I guess!

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 7:51pm
  12. fuc them

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 8:32pm
  13. Ethnocentricism — I don’t like it either, but if you’re against their laws as I am, don’t go there for vacation and spend your money. Those who are against such laws should also vote with their wallets and tell them why. They probably won’t care but why support people who treat others this way?

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 9:03pm
  14. Jamaica’s going to be a REALLY tough nut to crack, but I’m impressed that this is even being discussed in Parliament at all! Evidently not everyone in Jamaica is a raging homophobe after all!

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 9:21pm
  15. That’s the most backwards country on earth. Bunch of savages.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 11:28pm
  16. Go to Fire Island, Long Island or Martha’s Vineyard….

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 11:31pm
  17. what we need to do is turn back the acceptance of christianity

    Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 1:32am