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Thursday 7 January 2016 | Published in Regional


SUVA – Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has made it quite clear where he stands on the issue of same sex marriage.

“Fiji does not need that rubbish,” he told the Fiji Sun newspaper in an interview this week.

He made this emphatic statement after watching a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) current affairs television programme, Have Your Say.

The programme, which made references to the Fiji constitution, equality and same sex marriage, featured Shamima Ali, the Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator.

FBC news director Indra Singh, said one of last year’s programme highlights was a current affairs interview they made with Shamima Ali.

After watching the programme and listening to Ali’s views on same sex marriage Bainimarama said: “Tell Shamima Ali, there will be no same sex marriage in Fiji, a topic pushed by NGOs such as hers under the issue of human rights.”

He added: “Not in her lifetime and not in ours. They should not be confused with the wording of the constitution about the equality and love for one another.”

The constitution, he stressed, did not refer to equality as the opportunity for same sex marriage.

“Not in her lifetime!” Bainimarama told the Sun.

For a woman who wants to get married to another woman he said: “Go and have it done in Iceland and stay and live there. Fiji does not need that rubbish.”

Somewhat dumbfounded by Bainimarama’s moralistic outburst, Ali said she last spoke to FBC TV last November and she believes did not say anything about same sex marriage.

Ali says the prime minister’s outburst in the media was a totally regressive statement towards an LGBT community that struggles with discrimination.

“It’s extreme homophobia and really total disrespect for a community in Fiji, and it’s just not in keeping with statements that government has been making in terms of human rights, and violence against women, and our aspiration to be on the UN Human Rights Council in the near future.”

Ali says acceptance of the gay community has slowly been increasing, and leaders should instead be encouraging tolerance.

However, many religious organisations in Fiji support Bainimarama’s position, vehemently opposing same-sex marriage, the Sun comments.

In an earlier interview with the Fiji Sun, the former general-secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, now its president, Reverend Tevita Nawadra said: “Marriage ceremony is for a man and a woman.”

Many communities in Fiji frown upon the idea of a same-sex union although there is a growing tolerance towards gays, the Sun reported.