Many LGBT Jamaicans campaigned hard for the JLP in the recent elections. These people also joined the chorus of congratulations for the landslide victory of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his team. As an academic contemporary of the Prime Minister and several senior members of his administration I am chuffed at the generational shift in our politics. But I am not as sanguine about what this means for the human rights of LGBT citizens.
For example, will the JLP use its super-majority to finally decriminalize consensual acts of same-sex intimacy? Or will the Prime Minister follow through with his ridiculous notion of putting our sex life to a public vote? With a recent survey indicating that nearly 90% of Jamaicans support the anti-buggery law any referendum on the issue will be a colossal waste of money and a forgone conclusion.
The JLP also has the capacity to amend the odious section 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which bans legal recognition of same-sex unions. Repealing this ban would reflect the growing worldwide consensus, including by all our major trading partners as well as the highest hemispheric judicial body, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, that LGBT people have a right to form loving families of our own choosing.
Will the JLP now reward its LGBT supporters by respecting and upholding their human rights? Or will LGBT citizens continue to be ignored by politicians now that the elections are over?