The lawsuit against the anti-buggery and gross indecency laws in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a challenge against God, says a lawyer for churches suing for the retention of the laws.
“It’s a challenge against God himself because in the essence of this challenge, we are called upon to call a wrong right and to call what is wrong permissible and allowable in the guise of human rights,” Mandella Peters told a rally held by Christian churches in Kingstown on Thursday.
Gay Vincentians Sean MacLeish and Javin Johnson are asking the court to declare unconstitutional, the two sections of the Criminal Code that criminalise buggery and gross indecency.
Peters said that while the lawsuit is a constitutional challenge, “the essence of it, I believe it is a challenge against morality”.
Under the Criminal Code, any person who commits buggery with any other person, commits buggery with an animal, or permits any person to commit buggery with him or her is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 10 years.
The Criminal Code also says that any person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex, or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for five years.
Peters said that contrary to some comments, the laws are not colonial, having been enacted by an independent St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“These claimants and others who support this position would have us to believe that these are draconian, archaic laws which are just a relic of our colonial past.
“But I will ask them to do their research properly. Because when our Criminal Code was enacted in 1988, we [had] been an independent nation since 1979, England [had] repealed their buggery laws already in 1967. Yet, the independent parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines chose to let buggery remain on our law books.”
Peters’ father, Parnell Campbell QC, was attorney general and Minister of Justice in 1988.
Campbell was among hundreds of persons, most of them wearing white, which attended the march and rally in Kingstown.
Peters noted that the claimants are arguing that the buggery and gross indecency laws are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any consensual conduct among persons above the age of consent.
She said she believes this is because they see the legislation as a moral law.
“This was a righteous law, this is a health law, but now moves are being made to strike these laws down from our law books so that immorality will prevail, so that unrighteousness will come into our country,” she said.
“They are seeking a declaration that these laws violate their rights guaranteed by the Constitution and they are seeking to strike down those laws or to modify as to bring them into conformity with the Constitution, the very Constitution that says that our nation is founded upon the belief in the supremacy of God, the very Constitution that says that our rights are not absolute but they are subject to the interest of the public, they are subject to public morality, public health and order.
“They are saying throw morality out the door, they are saying that morality has no place in this debate and we are saying no, that is not so, we will stand up for morality, we will stand up for righteousness in this land, for righteousness exalted a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Peters said a lot is being said about love.
“But it is not true love if you know the truth and you fail to educate others and you fail to tell them about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that has the power to transform their lives. That is not love. We will not be spreading lies. We need to say the truth about what buggery is. Buggery is anal penetration and God did not design the rectum for sexual intercourse,” she said to loud cheers.
She said that outside of Christian beliefs, a case is made out against buggery.
“Even if you put the Bible aside, look at our bodies, look at our anatomy, look at our physiology, nature itself tells you that the rectum was not designed for sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is between a male and a female and God blesses it when it is in the context of marriage.”
Peters said a lot of health risks are associated with using the anus for sexual penetration
“But that is not going on the media. Is it? They are not promoting that because they are just talking about rights and rights but we need to get down to the very act, the very behaviour, that is very unhealthy, it is dangerous, it is immoral, it should not be promoted at all.”
Peters said some persons would want to say what she is saying is hate speech.
“But it is not hate. It’s love because I am telling you the truth; the rectal tissue with its thinner walls is more vulnerable to tearing than the vagina during intercourse.
“The larger surface area of the rectum and colon, with their rich blood supplies provide more opportunity for viruses to penetrate. There is more bleeding and laceration involved in anal penetration.
“There is damage to the anal sphincter muscles, so sometimes over a period of prolonged anal penetration, some persons who practice that, lose control of their bowels and have to wear diapers, but that truth is not being told,” Peters said to loud cheers.
Peters spoke of anal sores, warts, haemorrhoids, and great exposure to faecal matter.
“And once there is the tearing of the rectal tissue and the blood is exposed to the faecal matter, there is another issue of blood sepsis. Go and research it and let it be known. There is an increased risk of anal cancer, increased risk of contracting a number of dangerous STDs, including HIV and AIDS. They will not tell you this but anal penetration is the easiest way for HIV and AIDS transmission.
“Yet they say let’s repeal the buggery laws to deal with HIV and AIDS. Does that make sense? Promoting the very behaviour that causes increase in HIV and AIDS? It made no sense whatsoever,” Peters said.
Peters is one of the attorneys representing the Christian Coalition, which has asked the court to allow them to join the government in defending the lawsuit.
The court will rule on Nov. 20 whether to allow the 10-chruch coalition to join the lawsuit.