Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister stated that gay marriage would not be part of the new constitution.
During an interview broadcasted yesterday (26 March) by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation’s he said: ‘Same sex marriage is an issue which is not even up for discussion’, when answering a caller about the subject.
‘It will not be allowed because it is against religious beliefs’, he stressed.
He explained that a ‘prominent feature’ of submissions to the Fiji’s constitution commission was the opposition to same-sex marriage.
The shows are part of the government’s two-week consultation effort, which also encourages people to text, write or email with their suggestions on the 90-page document.
Bainimarama, who overthrew the government of Fiji in 2006 in a military coup, has been ruling the country ever since and suspended had its constitution abolished in 2009.
In 1997, Fiji became the second country in the world to explicitly protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation in its now abolished constitution.
Since 1 February 2010, private, adult, consensual and non-commercial male and female homosexual conduct is legal under a decree issued by the prime minister.
Fiji’s media is now discussing a new draft constitution, although the extent it will address LGBT rights is still unclear.
Bainimarama reaffirmed his intention to resign from the post of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces commander so he could contest the planned 2014 elections as a prime ministerial candidate.
Fijian commentators who discussed Bainimarama’s statement on Facebook were critical, saying it ‘it seems to be a political move’ designed to play garner support from ‘the majority of voters in Fiji, most of whom are conservative to the bone’.