Fijileaks: Since the Government is quick to hold public consultations on many issues, maybe the Election Office should be charged with conducting an election among the LGBT community to ascertain if they want same sex marriage in Fiji! If so, like Khaiyum's 2013 Constitution, they should be given the Marriage Certificate!
Raj has spoken out about Bainimarama's comments on gay marriage but said opposite of what was expected of someone tipped to be the next Fiji Human Rights Commissioner and speaker on LGBT rights at a UNESCO summit!
The authority's chairperson, Ashwin Raj, made the comment after report in the Fiji Sun last week which quoted the prime minister as saying if a women wants to marry another woman, they should do so in Iceland and stay there.
Raj said media organisations had to be sensitive to and particularly careful about the possible effects of discriminatory references to vulnerable minorities in prejudicial or pejorative contexts.
He went on to say that Fiji needed to have a deep and meaningful discussion on the issue that goes beyond what he calls the "cul de sac of marriage".
Fiji's gay community has called on the prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama to apologise for what it says are derogatory and homophobic statements.
A human rights advocate, Shamima Ali, has described the prime minister's comments as disheartening.
Fijileaks to Fiji LGTB: 'It's time to tell this Raj chap and regime lackey to take a running jump in Icelandic snow so he can "sober up"; Media must take lead in speaking up but don't expect them now Raj has spoken up!
VICTOR LAL spoke up for the LGBT community in 2005, Fiji's Daily Post:
“The institution of the family (heteronormative or otherwise) is inextricably woven into discourses of nation and belonging and such discourses are highly contentious which most nations, including advanced liberal democracies, have struggled and continue to struggle with. Fiji is no exception." - Ashwin Raj. Oh, er, er "heteronormative"???
Khaiyum to Raj: "What is heteronormative, in simple English?" Fijileaks: "Denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation."
DO NOT PROMOTE DISCORD: “The media must take full cognisance of Section 6 (c) of Media Industry Development Decree which states that “media organisations shall be sensitive to and particularly careful about the possible effects of discriminatory references to vulnerable minorities in prejudicial or pejorative contexts. This particular provision in the Media Decree is in consonance with the Bill of Rights under the prohibited grounds of discrimination of our Constitution. We must be mindful of this at all times regardless of our moral position on the subject, our political proclivities or ideological disposition. Clearly, there is a tension between democracy (crudely defined as the will of the majority) and minority rights and we need to have a deep and meaningful discussion on the issue that goes beyond the cul de sac of marriage. The institution of the family (heteronormative or otherwise) is inextricably woven into discourses of nation and belonging and such discourses are highly contentious which most nations, including advanced liberal democracies, have struggled and continue to struggle with. Fiji is no exception. How we as a nation debate such matters while upholding the values set out in our Constitution will be a strong measure of the kind of democracy we are. Let us strive to be an enlightened democracy and the media must play a constructive role in promoting reason as we balance freedom of expression, report on matters of national interest and protect and promote the rights of minorities." -
Ashwin Raj to Fiji Sun, 12 January 2016”
Last week Frank Bainimarama said there would be no same sex marriage in Fiji and any woman wanting to marry another woman should have it done in Iceland and stay there.
Aman Ravindra-Singh says the disrespectful and discriminatory comments have provoked a backlash against Fiji's LGBTI community.
He says Mr Bainimarama has breached section 26 of the constitution and could also be charged under the criminal code.
"Under section 65 there is a particular offence called inciting communal antagonism. This issue has now flared within our community and in our society as a whole. The prime minister has breached section 65 in that his action has incited communal antagonism and he should be investigated and charged."
Mr Ravindra-Singh who has done work for members of the LGBTI community in the past says some members say they have felt some backlash after the Prime Minister's comments.
"One thing I can say with certainty is these comments have inflamed members of our society against the gay, LGBTI community and comments by the prime minister have directly incited communal antagonism."
Mr Ravindra-Singh says at least one person in the community is interested in laying a police complaint against Mr Bainimarama over his rermarks.
He says if the matter does go to the police, members of the LGBTI community will face further discrimination.
He says they they have been suffering this for decades, including physical violence.
The lawyer says the issue of gay marriage needs to be sorted out in the parliament.
Mr Bainimarama earlier told the Fiji Sun the Constitution did not refer to equality as the opportunity for same sex marriage.