Latest Jamaica News, Montego Bay (McKoy’s News): Same-sex Marriage Case – The Jamaican government has until November 19, 2019, to respond to a challenge to the country’s constitutional ban on the legal recognition of any form of same-sex unions, including marriage.
The challenge was filed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by Jamaican lawyer and LGBT human rights activist, Maurice Tomlinson. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has held that the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Jamaica is a signatory, guarantees the right to same-sex marriage.
In 2011 Tomlinson married a man in Canada, Capt. The Revd. Thomas Decker, a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces. Tomlinson migrated to Canada the following year and now says that he wants to return to Jamaica with his husband to care for his aging and ill parents. However, Tomlinson’s husband would not be able to live and work freely in Jamaica because the constitution prevents Capt. Decker from acquiring citizenship through marriage, as this is only available to heterosexual couples.
Tomlinson is the founder and development coordinator for Montego Bay Pride, which was barred from using the Montego Bay Cultural Centre after mayor Homer Davis and former mayor Charles Sinclair objected to a series of Pride events planned for the Centre. These included a public forum on whether Jamaica is ready for same-sex marriage.
Tomlinson said: “Like every other human being, my family is very important to me. I do not want to choose between caring for my parents in Jamaica or staying with my husband in Canada. I love and depend on my husband and he is willing to join me in Jamaica while I look after my parents. But he must be able to freely come and go and seek employment on the island in order to do so. This ban is hurting me, my family, and many other Jamaicans who are in same-sex relationships or depend on people who are in such relationships.”
Tomlinson is being represented in this petition by Dr. Emir Crowne, Attorney-at-law.