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Human rights – a human obligation

Jeremy Deacon, Acting Editor of The Royal Gazette
Jeremy Deacon, Acting Editor of The Royal Gazette

By Jeremy Deacon

It has been a long time coming, but at last sexual orientation has been added to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Now the Island has, in this regard at least, moved into the 21st century. It is a mature decision and the MPs need to be congratulated — although it has to be noted that the vote was only 18 to 14 in favour.

As the newspaper has written before in this column, it was never really about gay rights, it was always about human rights and the need for people, whatever their faith, sexual orientation, age or race, to be treated as equals. In other words, it is not so much human rights as human obligations.

We have come a long way since the dark ages of 2006 when former PLP MP Renee Webb’s attempt to stop discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was met with silence in the House of Assembly.

The vote last Friday is just the start of the process. Clearly, from comments made by church leaders, those left on the blogs and opinions expressed in the Letters to the Editor, there is a split in opinion throughout the Country on this issue.

As a country, it is time to follow our elected leaders and preach — and practice — greater tolerance, not just to those of a different sexual orientation, but to everyone.

In many respects, Bermuda is way ahead of much of the rest of the world — but in some respects it has lagged behind what would be considered normal for a truly developed country.

Friday was a step in the right direction, but there is still some way to go before Bermuda can consider itself a truly tolerant and inclusive society.

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Source: The Royal Gazette

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