One time Presidential Candidate contender, Dr Faith Harding said she would immediately repeal laws that prohibit same-sex unions here, if it were in her power to do so.
She also said that based on her experience as a Psychologist, owing to the stigma and discrimination attached to homosexuality, a majority of persons with alternative sexual lifestyles have suicidal and/ or homicidal tendencies.
Dr Harding, a Psychologist made the comments while addressing mostly an LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trangender, Intersex) audience at a SASOD-sponsored film festival and panel discussion held at the Dutch Bottle Café, North Road on Tuesday evening.
She was asked a direct question, “Were you President of Guyana and a Bill to legalise gay marriage and essentially repeal existing anti-gay legislation were to come to you for assent, what you would do?”
Dr Harding responded: “I would have assented to it because it is a basic human right, it is very important to ensure that such laws are in place… I have seen too many young people distraught.”
Her comment apparently embolden one member of the audience, who sprang to his feet, passionately declaring that it is wrong for the Government or any constitutional body to deny the LGBTI community the right to marriage when the same right is afforded to heterosexual couples.
She further related to the gathering that her experience as a Psychologist is informing her judgement.
“We are responsible”
“If the society rejects us because of our difference, then we are all responsible for their deaths, all those persons that have committed suicide because of being different, we are responsible.”
Meanwhile, a leader of the Hindu community, Swami Aksharananda related that the recent pronouncement by individuals and other religious communities have seemingly served to invoke a different train of thought into the citizenry, who would have otherwise not been bothered by the entire issue.
According to him, the damnation of alternate sexual lifestyle stems from Christianity.
Also part of the panel discussion was Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) Executive Director, Pastor Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, who related that the condemnation of homosexuality as a lifestyle is a typical right-wing view.
She urged persons condemning the lifestyle to return to the Bible, as therein, they would see that the Bible insists on “liberating love throughout all generations”.
She dismissed the notion that being gay is a choice, noting that the situation cannot be remedied by a pastor.
During the discussion, homosexuality was touted as not wrong.
“You have no right to impose your virtues on me, we are a diverse community,” one member declared.
The furore on homosexuality arose following an interview aired on a local radio station recently, where Pastor Ronald McGarrell, who serves as the Vice Chairman of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) and a GRPA Board member, said that homosexuals and persons with alternative sexual preferences should be restricted to reside on an island.
He said that this should be done so that the rest of society will not be endangered on the prophesied Judgement Day. However, subsequent to making the statement, McGarrell confirmed that it was nothing more than a light-hearted joke and that he meant no harm.
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