Furbert’s attempt to prohibit same-sex marriage is voted down
An attempt to specifically block same-sex marriage from the Human Rights Act Amendment was last night defeated 18 to 12 in the House of Assembly.
Progressive Labour Party MP Wayne Furbert sought to attach a proviso to the amendment stating that nothing within it could overturn any provision from the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1974 — which followed suit from UK law in specifying that marriage was specifically between a man and a woman.
MPs from both sides of the House have argued that today’s debate, which approached eight hours as Mr Furbert’s motion was put to a vote, has no ramifications on the issue of same-sex marriage, which concerns different wholly legislation.
In an often rancorous debate, Attorney General Mark Pettingill called Mr Furbert’s proposed amendment “convoluted” and “redundant”.
But Shadow AG Kim Wilson warned the House that “we don’t know what would happen” if the same-sex marriage issue was challenged in courts, and urged Government to accept Mr Furbert’s provisions.
She said the public had expressed great concern over the issue, and told her counterpart: “I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the question has been put to every one of us.”
Although most MPs conceded that same-sex marriage was not the topic under debate, Government was challenged to clarify it under Mr Furbert’s amendment.
Dissenting PLP MP Walton Brown said the move to put a “cap on extra rights” was a hypocritical restriction, and Mr Pettingill said at some point civil partnerships might come up for discussion — but to introduce it now would be to mix “apples and oranges”.
“This is just not the right amendment to be applying to the Human Rights Amendment. We must not and we cannot do it,” he said.
The matter was put to vote, with ‘nay’ votes from Government MPs Jeanne Atherden, Kenneth Bascome, Shawn Crockwell, Michael Dunkley, Grant Gibbons, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Susan Jackson, Trevor Moniz, Mark Pettingill, Sylvan Richards, Leah Scott, Wayne Scott, Cole Simons, Glen Smith and Jeff Souza; plus PLP MPs Walton Brown, Walter Roban and Michael Scott.Mr Furbert’s motion was supported by Independent MP Terry Lister, and PLP MPs Marc Bean, Derrick Burgess, David Burt, Rolfe Commissiong, Zane DeSilva, Lovitta Foggo, Wayne Furbert