Same-sex marriage: a friendly exchange

Letters to the Editor

Same-sex marriage: a friendly exchange

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

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Dear Editor,

In response to my Jamaica Observer article on 'Same-Sex Union/Marriage: Radical Thoughts', published September 2, 2019, a lawyer friend of mine engaged me via e-mail. Below is the exchange:

Friend: Very interesting piece on the captioned, but wouldn't it then be discriminatory for you to not do a same-sex wedding whilst doing weddings for heterosexuals? Wouldn't your conscience be informed by prejudice?

Me: Conscience is my right to exercise. There are some heterosexual weddings that I would not do if I think the couple should not be married. My unavailability to do any wedding may be informed by my conscience or prior commitment or whatever but that is my right to decide.

Discrimination (choosing between options) in my view is not only defensible (so long as no one is being demeaned) but inevitable in life, though we often forget this.

Friend: The homosexual activists will not believe you. They would sue you and try to have the case against you placed before an activist judge to seek substantial damages and costs against you to try to bankrupt you. War!

Me: They could only try. [I would not need a lawyer] No court at all could compel me to do any wedding at all, plus I was not a marriage officer in Jamaica since my return in 2014.

Beyond the exchange I now add my view on discrimination taken from my first book A Matter of Principle, 1997, p 78: “…one needs to point out that it [discrimination] is not necessarily a bad thing. For me the essence of the wrongness of racial or gender discrimination is not that people, on the basis of ethnic stock, colour or gender are discriminated against but that they are demeaned and despised specifically on the basis of colour, ethnic stock or gender.

“Discrimination, even on racial grounds, is an excusable even defensible reality of the daily lives of all, including human rights activists.

“One does, Indeed, one has to discriminate in selecting a spouse, employees, lecturers, students, journalists, columnists, speakers and others.

“The criteria of discrimination may vary depending on what are considered vital qualifications in the minds of those doing the selection but we do discriminate.

“As long as the individual or group being discriminated against is not thereby demeaned or despised, discrimination seems justifiable.”

Rev Clinton Chisholm

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