By Toni Frederick
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) — The head of the Anglican Church in St Kitts and Nevis, Archdeacon Valentine Hodge, has made it clear that the church does not support gay marriage, or condone a homosexual lifestyle.
“I can only speak… on the behalf of the Anglican Church, which is the church in the province of the West Indies… at the moment we cannot marry in church two people of the same sex… We believe in indissoluble monogamous marriage that is something which should last for life… indissoluble… and we also believe that it is something between a man and a woman,” the archdeacon said, speaking on WINN FM’s Breakfast Show on Thursday.
“We are not into same sex union in the province in the Caribbean, although we find that the Episcopal and the Church of Canada have been very much into that, but we haven’t reached that stage as yet and I think that we [aren’t] going to in the foreseeable future given our constitution of the province of the West Indies. We are really holding on to the biblical tradition and there are certain passages of scripture like Romans Chapter One… that very clearly [says] what’s enunciated in terms of marriage.”
The archdeacon said that the issue of the rights of homosexuals and lesbians was one of the law and theology.
“The legal arguments knock out the theological ones almost immediately. If it becomes gay rights or it becomes a justice issue then of course that is a situation with its own stamp its own character and it own thought patterns and everybody wishes to have people feel free, free to be able to do the things that they want to do within limits and so from a legal position where going to find that if it becomes a justice issue we don’t have a leg to stand on with respect to the church’s position because that takes it immediately out of our theological perspective,” the archdeacon said.
“Yes people should have the right to do whatever, the right to freedom to engage in whatever activity they wish to engage in but we in the church bring our people back to the point of doing God’s will and that ‘s the big thing. I know that in other parts of the Caribbean you’ve had the decriminalization of homosexuality and that’s consenting adults, it’s not a crime, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a sin.”
The archdeacon was commenting in the wake of a recent statement by the prime minister who, responding to a caller to his radio programme, said that the introduction of same sex marriage legislation is St Kitts and Nevis was something that should be debated nationally.
At his monthly press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas reiterated his position:
“Let us be open minded about this matter, let this matter be discussed among our people among the stakeholders. The government is not saying what its own views are at this time because the time has not yet come but we are saying we support the fact that there should be open frank and honest discussions, because homosexuality is taking place. People of St Kitts and Nevis of the same sex are getting married in North America and in Europe, they are getting married. I can point to at least two to three people of this country who we all know who have been so called married. So I think let us not get away from this, this is already happening here in our country.”
The prime minister said his recent comments had caught the attention of UNAIDS and he believed funding would be made available to facilitate a debate on issues related to the rights of homosexuals.
“To a large extent, it gets down to also involving the attorneys general from the Caribbean region, can we look at the present legislation with regard to buggery or homosexuality… the buggery law as people call it. Prostitution laws. How can you engage your own communities before it gets to the parliamentarians… engage them in discussing these matters as a human rights issue, because people have the rAight to determine their own sexual preferences and sexual orientation.”
Douglas has been at the forefront of the advocacy in the Caribbean for ending discrimination against gays and lesbians.
(Republished with permission of West Indies News Network)