The church and civil society organisation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are welcome to join the government as it responds to a challenge to the nation’s anti-same-sex laws.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference on Tuesday that he knows that attorney general Jaundy Martin will encourage other parties to join the suits, if they wish.
Among these parties, the prime minister suggested the Christian Council, the Evangelical Association, and other individuals and groups, including the Thusian Institute for Religious Liberty.
Gonsalves said he does not know if these groups would want to join or if the attorney general’s chamber has reached out to any of these groups.
He, however, said that if any entity wants to join the suit the attorney general will represent to the court that he does not oppose it but, in fact, welcomes it.
“But I have already seen since the filing of this that several churches have emphasised that this is a matter that if they were dormant they must realise that an acute spiritual warfare is ahead.
“But I didn’t know about political warfare but you have now introduced that. But I would think that this has nothing to do with me in politics. The point is this, the court will make a decision one way or another,” Gonsalves said in response to a question about potential fallout if the court overturns the nation’s buggery and gross indecency laws.
The prime minister said he has spoken to religious leaders who have told him privately that they would accommodate themselves to decriminalisation of same-sex activities in private but for it to have no public dimension.
“That is to say, the idea of men walking down the street holding hands and kissing, they would consider that a bridge too far to them. What you want to do in your bedroom is your bacchanal, is your business and there are some who say they want to begin what they consider this spiritual war because they think this is a slide to the step of having gay marriages and to have them on the same footing like heterosexual marriages,” he said.
Javin Johnson, 22, who, in 2017, successfully claimed asylum in the United Kingdom, and Sean Macleish, 53, is a Vincentian resident in Chicago, Illinois, filed court proceedings to challenge SVG’s “buggery” and “gross indecency” laws, which criminalise homosexuality.
A procedural hearing in the matter was scheduled for Wednesday.