Now Reading
Dominica Catholic leader likens gay sex to adultery but calls for it to be legal

Dominica Catholic leader likens gay sex to adultery but calls for it to be legal

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Dominica, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire, has said gay sex should be made legal.

But he has also likened it to ‘adultery, fornication, orgies, calumny, deep-seated hatred’ saying it can lead to ‘spiritual death’.

Despite this he wants to see an end to ‘all forms of violence’ against LGBT people in the island nation which still criminalizes gay male sex with 10 years jail. Lesbian sex can earn five years prison.

Writing in the Dominica News, Malzaire says: ‘The Catholic Church maintains free sexual acts between adult persons must not be treated as crimes to be punished by civil authorities.’

But he objected to the UN describing LGBT issues with the words ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’.

He said: ‘Their use in the Declaration [of Human Rights] is part of an attempt to equate same-sex unions with marriage and to give homosexual couples the chance to adopt or procreate children.’

‘It is very important to note that the role of the church in any society is primarily a moral one. She is not at liberty to change the divine mandate at will or according to human expediency. She has no authority to make a wrong into a right.

‘Homosexual “activity”, according to holy scriptures, is among many wrongs which, if not controlled, can lead to spiritual death. Among these are adultery, fornication, orgies, calumny, deep-seated hatred, and the like. These, along with homosexual “activity” will never be right, whether they are decriminalized by the state or not.

‘The church in its role as moral guide does not exist to condemn human persons but rather to condemn lifestyles and behaviors that are not in keeping with the divine law.

‘Therefore, just as the church has a responsibility to bring an adulterer to repentance she has the same responsibility towards those who indulge in homosexual “activity”.’

However, later in his commentary, he appears to accept the concept the state has a right to legalize gay and lesbian marriage, even though the Catholic hierarchy won’t accept it under ‘divine law’.

He writes: ‘For us who believe, same-sex unions can never be a sacrament and therefore can never be accepted by the church as valid marriages. They may be licit, according to the state in which they are permitted by the civil law, but they can never be valid in the face of the divine law, as we understand it.

‘There is an attempt today to redefine marriage to say that it is a union between two persons. Marriage is between a man and a woman, not between just two persons. This is the only definition in the Christian order.’

The Caribbean island of Dominica hit the headlines in March last year (2012) when two California men were pictured having sex in public aboard a cruise ship and arrested.

Dennis Jay Mayer and John Robert Hart insisted they weren’t ‘putting on a show for people’ aboard the cruise ship they were vacationing on when it pulled into port.

They pleaded guilty on 22 March (2012) to indecent exposure. Mayer said in a telephone interview from Puerto Rico with a Los Angeles television station: ‘We were taunted all night long, They paraded us around like we were some oddity.

Passengers on the gay cruise however said the behavior of arrested men was ‘inappropriate’.

The pair finally told their whole story in May.

In September the Dominica minister of education Petter St Jean, said homosexuality and anti-social behavior is a large scale ‘problem’ in the country’s school system, ‘bigger than previously thought’.

He said this was forcing the government to ‘broaden its task force to deal with the matter’.

Between 1995 and 2000, 35 people were arrested by local authorities and charged with buggery. The courts sentenced all the offenders to fines and prison sentences up to 10 years. Some were sent to local psychiatric hospitals for treatment.

In 2001, 15 females were arrested for engaging in same-sex sexual acts, charged with the crime of gross indecency, and sentenced to five years imprisonment.

That same year, 10 males were sentenced to five years imprisonment for engaging in gross indecency with people of the same sex.

The Commonwealth of Dominica had a population of 71,293 at the 2011 census.

UPDATE: Since GSN published this story, police in Dominica have questioned the arrest stats we published, however other sources, including LGBT Dominica experts, maintain they are correct.