DNA leader willing to accept civil unions

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

DEMOCRATIC National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney expressed openness yesterday to allowing homosexual couples to form civil unions, as opposed to marriage, so they could enjoy some of the rights that married couples do.

His statement came during an appearance on the 96.9FM talk show The Revolution in response to a question from the host about same-sex marriage.

“Same-sex marriage I don’t believe in that, but civil unions, I think people should have rights under the law and I don’t think it should be taken away, but when it comes down to that marriage...” he said.

Neither same-sex marriage nor same-sex civil unions are legal in the Bahamas.

Civil unions are legal relationships between two people of the same sex that gives them some of the same rights and responsibilities that married people have.

Contacted for further comment by The Tribune yesterday, Mr McCartney said it’s important to ensure people enjoy equal rights under the law.

“Marriage is different,” he said. “I have difficulty with any type of discrimination. I don’t think (discrimination) is what (prohibiting gay marriage) is, since (marriage) is made for a man and a woman, not otherwise. But in terms of gay persons, lesbian persons and transgender persons, they should enjoy all the rights that straight people enjoy.”

However, Mr McCartney said that he hasn’t given much thought to the issue.

His comments came as he discussed the weekend massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and stressed that humans should not play judge and jury for those with whose lifestyles they disagree.

On the issue of civil unions, he told The Tribune: “I think people should have rights but that’s a very touchy situation and something I can’t see happening right now, civil unions and gay marriage. For me personally, when it comes to marriage I have a difficulty. But we must always be careful with rights for people.”

Mr McCartney said he knows many homosexual people and believes that tolerance is necessary so incidents like the one in Orlando that resulted in 49 people being killed does not take place here.

“I have many friends who are lesbians and gays,” he said. “It’s the world we live in. I pray to the Almighty that we exercise tolerance and we don’t put ourselves in the seat of judgment and we are not there to judge anybody. We cannot be judge and jury because they may have a different way of life. We should not discriminate against a person because he is gay.”

With respect to the recent constitutional referendum bills on gender equality, Mr McCartney was one of the first politicians to raise concerns that the fourth bill could open the door to same-sex marriage.

He said last week that he voted “no” to all four amendments during the June 7 referendum.