U.S., U.K. Activists Urge Jamaicans To Keep Same-Sex Intercourse Illegal

“Do not be like us, do not be like Britain, do not sit idly by as so-called ‘LGBT activists’ manipulate words and laws to achieve dominance in your country,” Peter LaBarbera, founder of Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality, told a conference of Christian conservatives in the Caribbean country this weekend.

Peter LaBarbera speaking at an Oct. 22 rally opposing marriage equality in Illinois. Via Tony Merevick/BuzzFeed

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Activists from the United States and United Kingdom opposed to LGBT rights have urged Jamaican Christian conservatives to resist repealing the country’s buggery law, similar to sodomy laws, by arguing that homosexuality is a choice and connected to pedophilia.

Peter LaBarbera, founder of Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality, told the conference: “Do not be like us, do not be like Britain, do not sit idly by as so-called ‘LGBT activists’ manipulate words and laws to achieve dominance in your country.”

LaBarbera and Andrea Minichiello Williams, founder of the United Kingdom’s Christian Concern, spoke Saturday at a conference organized by the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society and the Christian Lawyers’ Association in Kingston.

The groups are lobbying against the repeal of a colonial-era law banning same-sex intercourse, known as the “buggery law.” Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller suggested she might put the law to a vote during her 2011 campaign. Her government has not yet taken any action on the legislation, but Justice Minister Mark Golding told BuzzFeed this week that he hoped to raise it next year as part of a broad review of the country’s sexual offenses law.

Reiterating many of the same themes he’s made over time in fighting LGBT rights in America, LaBarbera pulled out many of arguments that led him and his organization to be targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center and GLAAD for making false claims.

“Homosexuals are made, they’re not born,” LaBarbera said to applause, while telling stories of people he said had stopped being gay or transgender thanks to Christian conversion. “The dirty little secret that the media and homosexual activists are desperate — desperate — to squelch is that people are coming out of homosexuality every day. This is the work of God, this is the work of Jesus.”

LaBarbera, a longtime activist opposing LGBT rights in America, said he was working on a book on the connection between “homosexual activism and pedophiles.” He said that after winning rights like marriage and protection for gay kids in schools, U.S. activists were now championing the rights of MAPS, or “minor-attracted persons.”

“Homosexuals are always on offense,” he said. “It’s another secret that American activists don’t like to tell is that NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association, used to march in gay pride parades.”

Public health and LGBT rights advocates have called for a decriminalization of same-sex relationships, arguing that the buggery law inhibits outreach to prevent the spread of HIV. LaBarbera countered, though, with his argument that if the problem is that men who have sex with men are at high risk of HIV infection, then it is better to keep same-sex intercourse illegal.

“They’re telling you that if they just get rid of your anti-buggery law, that’s going to help stem the tide of HIV? What we have here is an Isaiah 5:20 world: good is evil and evil is good,” he said.

LaBarbera closed his remarks by criticizing President Barack Obama, who has made the promotion of LGBT rights a foreign policy priority:

I do not stand with my government. I’m a patriotic American, but I do not stand with the current United States government in its promotion of homosexuality and gender confusion. But I do stand with the Jamaican people … I pray that you will learn from our mistakes and from lessons of history and avoid the inevitable moral corruption and health hazards and the danger to young people that come from capitulating to this sin movement that calls itself gay. It is almost now can be predicted with 100 percent accuracy, if the law is a teacher: If you take down this law, it will only lead to more demands. Appeasement does not work.

During her remarks, Andrea Minichiello Williams of the United Kingdom’s Christian Concern said Jamaica had the opportunity to become a world leader by fending off foreign pressure to decriminalize same-sex intercourse.

“Might it be that Jamaica says to the United States of America, says to Europe, ‘Enough! You cannot come in and attack our families. We will not accept aid or promotion tied to an agenda that is against God and destroys our families,’” she said, adding to applause, “If you win here, you will have an impact in the Caribbean and an impact across the globe.”

She made the case that it is a “big lie” that homosexuality is inborn, arguing instead it is caused by environmental factors like “the lack of the father” and “sometimes a level of abuse.” She illustrated her point with the case of 19-year-old British diver Tom Daley and his reported relationship with American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

Daley, she said, who is “loved by all the girls and had girlfriends,” had “lost his father to cancer just a few years ago and he’s just come out on YouTube that he’s in a relationship with a man, that man is 39, a leading gay activist in the States.”

Williams warned that removal of Britain’s sodomy law was the start of a process that has led to more and more permissive laws, including equalizing the age of consent laws for homosexual and heterosexual intercourse.

“Once you strip away all this stuff, what you get is no age consent … nobody ever enforces that law anymore,” she said. “We already have a strong man-boy movement that’s moving in Europe.”

She also described several cases in which she said people had been fired for their jobs for their opposition to LGBT rights and said people with views like hers are being silenced in the media and intimidated with the threats of hate-speech lawsuits. This was especially true, she suggested, when organizations like hers try to claim a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia, she said.

“They hate the line of homosexuality being linked to pedophilia. They try to cut that off, so you can’t speak about it,” she said. “So I say to you in Jamaica: Speak about it. Speak about it.”

She took issue with the notion that advancing such arguments in opposition to expanding legal rights for LGBT people was hate speech. On the contrary, she said, “We say these things because we’re loving, we’re compassionate, we’re kind, because we care for our children…. It is not compassion and kind to have laws that lead people [to engage] in their sins [that] lead to the obliteration of life, the obliteration of culture, and the obliteration of family.”

The group co-hosting the conference recently launched a video opposing the buggery law’s repeal. Wayne West, who heads the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society, said he wanted the law to stay in place because he fears undoing it will ultimately lead to the silencing of people who share his beliefs.

“I would not have held that we should tell people what they should or should not do [in private],” he said. “However, we observe that when the buggery law has been removed it’s not simply a matter of [sexual] morality in cases like the United States, in England … in Canada… It is attendant with it punishment for people who disagree” with LGBT rights.

It has been LGBT Jamaicans, though, who have faced danger in recent months. At least two LGBT people are believed to have been murdered in the country over the summer, while others have become the target of angry mobs — including four men who were the target of a firebomb in October.

JCHS’s video opposing repeal of the buggery law

youtube.com / Via youtube.com

J. Lester Feder is a foreign correspondent for BuzzFeed and 2013 Alicia Patterson journalism fellow.

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