NEWS

Commission Says Same Sex Marriage Concept Needs ‘Jurisprudence’

The issue came to the limelight following an argument by University of Fiji Vice-Chancellor and Dean for the School of Law Professor, Shaista Shameem, on the Marriage Act not prohibiting same sex marriage.
23 May 2022 16:38
Commission Says Same Sex Marriage Concept Needs ‘Jurisprudence’

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission says there is a need to jurisprudence the issue of same sex marriage in Fiji.

This is because the Fijian Constitution has no clear explanation on what the word “expression” meant. (Jurisprudence is the theory or philosophy of law.)

The issue came to the limelight following an argument by University of Fiji Vice-Chancellor and Dean for the School of Law Professor, Shaista Shameem, on the Marriage Act not prohibiting same sex marriage.

The commission’s director, Ashwin Raj, said there was a need to have a calm and rational debate on this sensitive subject that delves deeper into the rights debate.

“This conversation must be evacuated from the narrow, parochial and banal question about whether a political party, if it comes into power, will allow same sex marriage or not because surely politicians will say anything to appease the pathos of prospective voters in a bid to win votes,” he said.

Mr Raj said what needs to be recognised was whether discrimination emanating from the denial of same sex marriages would have the effect of curtailing fundamental rights and freedoms leading to further discrimination.

“The inclusion of sex, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity and or expression under section 26(3) of the Fijian Constitution is an important legal safeguard even if Fiji decides not to legalise same sex marriage,” he said.

“The issues are far more complex and the Fijian Constitution, which goes a step further than the 1997 Constitution in the context of section 26 (3) (a), provides for a fertile ground in developing jurisprudence on this issue.”

He said the priority right now was to address everyday violence and discrimination faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community before talks on same sex marriage was centred.

Feedback: josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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