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Anti-gay outburst ‘breached the law’

Wednesday 13 January 2016 | Published in Regional

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SUVA – A lawyer in Fiji who has been advocating against human rights abuses says the Prime Minister has breached the constitution and the law over his anti-gay marriage remarks.

Last week Frank Bainimarama said there would be no same sex marriage in Fiji and any woman wanting to marry another woman should have it done in Iceland and stay there.

He also said: “There will be none of that rubbish in Fiji.”

Aman Ravindra-Singh says the disrespectful and discriminatory comments have provoked a backlash against Fiji’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

He says he believes Bainimarama has breached section 26 of the constitution and could also be charged under the criminal code.

“Under section 65 there is a particular offence called inciting communal antagonism. This issue has now flared within our community and in our society as a whole.

“The prime minister has breached section 65 in that his action has incited communal antagonism and he should be investigated and charged.”

Ravindra-Singh who has done work for members of the LGBTI community in the past says some members say they have felt some backlash after the Prime Minister’s comments.

“One thing I can say with certainty is these comments have inflamed members of our society against the gay, LGBTI community and comments by the prime minister have directly incited communal antagonism.”

Ravindra-Singh says at least one person in the community is interested in laying a police complaint against Bainimarama over his rermarks.

He says if the matter does go to the police, members of the LGBTI community will face further discrimination.

He says the LGBTI community has been suffering this for decades, including physical violence.

The lawyer says the issue of gay marriage needs to be sorted out in the parliament.

Mr Bainimarama earlier told the Fiji Sun the Constitution did not refer to equality as the opportunity for same sex marriage.

- ABC