Two steps forward, one back

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Shadow Tourism Minster Wayne Furbert was berated yesterday by dozens of commenters on The Royal Gazette website after saying he was concerned that a proposed bill prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination could open the way to same sex marriage.

“I’m considering bringing an amendment to define marriage as between male and female,” he said in the article. Really?

On what is generally a conservative Island, this is a very contentious issue, but to come out, so to speak, and publicly seek to block it is alarming.

Recently, this newspaper asked in an editorial: “But is Bermuda a tolerant enough society? Could it, emotionally, deal with an issue as contentious as legalised same sex marriages?”

Clearly not. It will be interesting to see whether Mr Furbert pursues this strategy. It will be even more interesting to see who supports it, should it get debated in the House of Assembly when the changes to the Human Rights Act are discussed.

Mr Furbert went on to say: “I fully support people’s rights — the right to work, the right to live — but the part that bothers me is the service portion which concerns the right to get married.”

This newspaper would contend that human rights should be about equal rights, about becoming a mature, understanding and tolerant society it should not be one that stigmatises or ostracises a section of the community.

In this regard, politicians should be leading the way, putting aside emotion and basing a decision on what human rights is actually about. It really does seem to be a case of two steps forward and one back.

On another, completely unrelated note, the story of nine-year-old Calvin Steede, who suffers from sickle cell anaemia, should remind us how a little help can go a long way.

Hospital staff have highlighted his case to remind people of the need to give blood.

As one person said on the story on www.royalgazette.com: “Wow. I have never given blood, totally afraid of needles, but I am signing up to become a donor. I have kids and God knows I would want the same to happen for me. Hang in there little man, you have a long rewarding life ahead of you....:-) Great job for bringing the story to our eyes, parents.”

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Published Jun 13, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm)

Two steps forward, one back

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